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NEW YORK 

TO 

PEKING- 

BLANCHE SELLERS ORTMAN 











THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




NEW YORK. SCENE 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 

BY 

BLANCHE SELLERS ORTMAN 




PRIVATELY PRINTED AT 

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 

MDCCCCXXI 



COPYRIGHT 1921 

BY BLANCHE SELLERS ORTMAN 

SAN FRANCISCO 



Tou have heard the beat of the off-shore wind, 
*And the thresh of the deep sea rain ; 
Tou have heard the song how long! how long! 
full out on the trail again." 



632048 



FOREWORD 

NEW YORK, October 6, 

ON THE eve of a big trip half way around the world, 
to cover Japan, Korea and China, many thoughts 
crowd themselves into my head and heart. The most 
prominent one reminds me how lucky I am to be given 
this opportunity to revisit a part of the world where 
so much will still be new to my eyes, but my happy con- 
templation is speedily changed to a more serious mood 
when I reflect upon the sadness and turmoil in which a 
greater part of inhabited globe finds itself after the great 
and horrible war. So when I received a letter from my 
friend Lucy, reminding me that all good things in this 
world are sent one, not to keep to one's self, but rather 
to be passed on to others, I decided to jot down my 
observations, and consequently, if you don't like them, 
please blame Lucy ! 

B.S.O. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER I 

r ~T v HE customary New York rush was on me like the 
_L proverbial plague. Dinners and luncheons, mixed 
up with Red Cross and other committee gatherings, 
capped on the final day by the wedding of a friend, to 
absent myself from which made me feel the ceremony 
would not be exactly legal. (Oh, how important mortal 
man sometimes feels. I later learned a Mongolian desert 
can reduce the size of this self-conceit). 

Our travelling party was to consist of four, Mr. and 
Mrs. "Biffy," R. (friend husband) and myself. The 
Biffys had already proceeded, later to meet up with us 
in San Francisco, whence we were to sail for Japan. 
R. had urgent business in Chicago, so he had already 
started, leaving me to trail and catch up as best I could. 
I hoped our well laid plans would carry out successfully, 
and that it would not prove to be a game of "crack the 
whip," with myself constituting the lash of said whip. 

When the long expected morning of my departure 
finally dawned, it found me ready to start hours before 
the scheduled time. 

Sister Betty had come from Buffalo for a few day's 



io NEW YORK TO PEKING 

visit, and was returning with me as far as her home 
town, so we are looking forward to a happy day on the 
train filled with visiting, knitting and chatting. 

My lovable friend Nell arose at an ungodly hour to 
bid me an affectionate goodbye, and to wave me off 
on my long journey of many miles and involving a 
separation of many months. With our eyes filled with 
unshed tears we hurriedly gave a last embrace to the 
accompaniment of a shrill "All Aboard." The train 
quietly slipped out of the big station with only the noise 
of closing vestibule doors. Returning to my drawing- 
room, I re-counted my bags and rug rolls for the one 
hundredth time, gave a frantic look into my hand bag 
for my railroad tickets, experienced a sense of relief 
that after all I had not lost them, and forthwith settled 
myself with a comfortable sense of realization that I 
was on my way across land and sea into the setting sun. 

At Chicago I fairly fell into R's arms as he met me 
at the station platform. At the Blackstone we found 
many notes and lovely flowers of welcome. The two 
days that followed were happily spent in lovable, 
friendly Chicago, with all its inevitable grime and 
smoke, for in those circumstances the warmth and 
affection showered upon us by our old and tried friends 
out-weighs any drawbacks, be they ever so disagree- 
able. Dear Amy and Harry saw us to the westbound 
train, favoring us with useful hints about Japan as we 
sped through the crowded streets to the station. We 
were indeed fortunate to get such good information 



NEW YORK TO PEKING u 

from such experienced travellers as our friends. Our 
small baggage had meanwhile been safely stowed in our 
drawing-room on the Overland Limited, although the 
term small baggage is certainly a misnomer when it is 
supposed to include the "man eater," my big week-end 
bag. But there it was, peacefully monopolizing one end 
of the room while the balance of the available space was 
filled with offerings from our friends, books, candy, 
fruit and flowers. Our starting off on a world-ramble is 
becoming such an old story one would think our dear 
ones would tire of making a ceremony of it. It flatters 
us immensely, and inwardly and outwardly we bless 
them! 

We settle ourselves for the three days and three 
nights journey across the continent, relaxing almost 
automatically and drawing a long breath, the first in 
weeks, what with the rush of preparation, of starting 
off, and in the tying of the many loose ends of the in- 
numerable ties we had made for ourselves. Our train is 
one of two sections, the King and Queen of Belgium 
being passengers on the other section. Despite the 
rainy, cold weather, the station platforms are crowded 
with people whose eagerness to see "Their Highnesses" 
is not dampened by drizzle, or chilled by icy blasts. 
Who says democratic America does not care for royalty? 
Imagine their disappointment as they peer into our car 
windows to see the stately King and his gracious Queen, 
to visualize only a car full of plain United States folk. 
But they nevertheless laugh, joke and jostle, as all 



12 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

good-natured American crowds are apt to do. Of course 
there were types, the "smarty" kind, the self-conscious 
youth with his bright colored necktie strutting about, 
while his eyes roamed towards the pretty girls; the 
"fresh paint" lads pushing one another off the platform 
or throwing a cap on the roof of the car; the giggling 
girls full of admiration for the boys in uniform; the tired 
mothers with their babies to show them a real live King 
and Queen, so that in after years, when royalty may be 
a very scarce element in our social structure, the fact 
will be proudly related that these rulers were actually 
seen in the flesh and blood; and of course there was the 
ever-present dog, always to be found where young 
America holds forth, getting lost only to be found, then 
to be scolded, kicked and cuffed, later to be spoiled with 
love and affection again. Station after station we find 
this same eager crowd waiting for the royal Belgian 
pair. School children, hundreds of them, bearing flags, 
dressed in their best, unruly to handle and the despair 
of their teachers, who impatiently clap their hands for 
concentrated attention, as their charges are invariably 
looking in any direction but that from which the royal 
train is supposed to come. 

Our porter, a coal black, simple, well-mannered 
African, expressed himself to R. as being glad that the 
King was not on his train. Upon being pressed for a 
reason he said in all seriousness: "Why boss, dis yere 
King can cut off a man's head anytime he feels like it!" 
R., with his insatiate fondness for reforming the whole 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 13 

world, launched forth into a defense of much maligned, 
and in this case, greatly overestimated King Albert. 
It took some time to satisfactorily explain to the ivory 
headed darkey that kings in our day and generation had 
to obey laws as well as the common people, and it is 
not at all certain that Sambo was fully and definitely 
convinced. He was seen shaking his head as well as 
scratching it as he moved away to dust the window sills 
and the observation car chairs. 



14 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER II 

ON THE second morning out of Chicago we opened 
our eyes upon a light blanket snow scene, the 
fleecy flakes still falling as we dashed across the state 
of Wyoming, making us realize that winter is fast ap- 
proaching. As we pass through little villages and towns 
we picture them during the dreary, long winter months, 
their homes covered to the eaves of the roofs with snow 
for weeks on end. What must be the point of view of 
these people, after such a season of isolation ? 

As our train dashes through these snow-covered tiny 
towns, which later in the year will become dust-covered 
spots on the horizon of the vast Western prairies, my 
eye often catches a fleeting glimpse of a faded Red 
Cross poster, or a service flag with its one or more stars 
hanging in cottage windows, and a feeling of brother- 
hood comes over me, for it was from thousands of just 
such little hamlets that many of our bravest lads were 
sent over-seas, high in hopes with truly wonderful 
standards, some to return with breasts covered with the 
the insignia of honors, but many too, now only a loving 
memory since the letter reached those far-a-way spots 
from a field hospital, giving the last words of some brave 
soldier taken down by an army nurse. Words that shall 
live forever in the heart of a mother or sweetheart, hav- 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 15 

ing been burnt in with the first reading of the precious 
document, with the onrush of hot tears that are God- 
sent to ease and not break the heart. 

The Rockies are reached and passed, and with each 
hour comes the promise of spring, until we rush down 
from the mountain tops into the arms of sunny Cali- 
fornia; lovely California with orange trees in fruit, and 
great slopes and fields of yellow poppies that rival the 
lupin with their purple haze, covering the foot hills. 
We pinch ourselves to see if it is not all a dream, and 
that we are wide awake and not dreaming this golden 
dream! Ever and always the same thought comes, 
"Why does not every one live here in this narrow ledge 
of the Western coast of the United States, where the 
climate is the same twelve months a year never cold 
in winter, thanks to the mighty wall of mountains 
protecting it from the East never hot in summer, due 
to the same watch-dog mountains that imprison the 
cool air as it blows from the Japan Current. The Pacific 
Ocean, with its great fields of kelp floating in lovely 
purple and yellow patches on the sea, giving it the 
effect of Joseph's coat of many colors and simultan- 
eously reflecting the azure sky, is a perfect picture and 
one to set one dreaming for a life time." 

Leaving the overland train at Oakland mole, we em- 
barked on the huge ferry boat, and as the latter ap- 
proached San Francisco, we were reminded of New 
York with its high sky line, imparting a different im- 
pression nevertheless. On landing we thought it must 



16 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

be some feast day, for the street corner stands were 
piled high with flowers that seemed like great banks of 
blossoms. You can here buy your arms full of flowers 
for twenty-five cents. Great tubs of violets, at a few 
cents a bunch, are waiting to be sent home or to a 
hospital to gladden some sick, tired, shut-in person. 
At one stand I counted twenty different kinds of blos- 
soms. Heliotrope and calla lilies are used for high 
hedges. Can you picture your backyard fence consisting 
of a wonderful wall of heliotrope or lilies? No wonder 
these Western folk have a bright, cheery viewpoint of 
life with such an outlook! 



NEfT YORK TO PEKING 77 



CHAPTER III 

WE ARE not sorry our sailing date has been post- 
poned for two weeks due to the dock strikes, for 
it only means added play time in this summer land. Our 
heads were turned and our hearts gladdened by brother 
Ed and nephew Bill both bachelors wishing to come 
from the remote points of the Pacific Coast, to be with 
us while awaiting the departure of our ship. These two 
good chaps are doing everything to give us a jolly time, 
and are more than succeeding, what with planning din- 
ners on the beach and elsewhere, dancing, motoring and 
making excursions back into the hills where great red- 
wood trees with their giant trunks and limbs look down 
on us with their superior age and dignified bearing. 

At last our ship, the Korea Maru^ sailed, having been 
delayed in San Francisco sixteen days by a stevedore 
and longshoremen's strike. We had, after many post- 
ponements, begun to wonder if we ever should start on 
our long-planned, much discussed trip to the Far East. 
If the Longshoremen's Union had had anything to do 
with it, we should probably still be on our own soil. So 
when the last announced date, October 2yth, finally 
dawned, we were more than eager and ready to be off. 
Our cabin we found so full of evidences of our thoughtful 
friends that it was difficult to place our bags and steamer 



i8 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

trunks. Baskets of flowers as high as one's head, ham- 
pers of fruit, as only California can produce, candy of 
all kinds, books on every subject, and last but by no 
means least, a fat bundle of letters and telegrams that 
caused a lump in my throat, a veil of mist before my 
eyes, knowing how our dear ones had taken great pains 
to plan these pleasant things for us. 

Our "Big Four" lined the promenade deck rail as the 
huge liner slipped out to sea through the Golden Gate, 
giving us a picture of the city with its hills, the streets 
running straight up and over the tops like white ribbons 
in the sunlight. It was a gorgeous autumn day. The 
Twin Peaks stood guard over the city like loving parents 
watching their children the smaller hills, the latter fairly 
teeming with life. We turned our faces westward, and 
being tramps by instinct and at heart, we are all ex- 
pectant and anxious to know what the distant horizon 
holds in store for us. 

We go below to settle ourselves for a seventeen days 
voyage by unpacking our bags, taking stock of our gen- 
erous supply of fruit and other eatables most of which 
we consign to the ship's refrigerator to enjoy their fresh- 
ness later on and arrange ourselves snug and "comfy," 
as we understand that term, and now that we are really 
on our way on this important leg of our big trip, I be- 
think myself of the dear ones left behind, of the many 
kindnesses they have showered upon me, and I utter a 
silent prayer that they will not forget me as my absence 
of days grows into weeks and the weeks into months. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 79 

Our cabin boy is a Chinese named Tom Tom, a big 
North China specimen, who seemingly looks down upon 
me and all my numerous trappings with which my state- 
room is filled, and I can scarcely blame him. We Ameri- 
cans seem to think we can find happiness by owning 
many things. When shall we learn that true happiness 
comes from within, and that our food, clothing and other 
physical comforts mean nothing if our hearts and minds 
are not at peace. 

It is difficult to believe it is October and not June for, 
as I write, a soft light breeze comes through the open 
port, balmy indeed. In a few days time the deck swim- 
ming tank will be erected, where the hardy swimming 
enthusiast dives and cavorts to his heart's content. I 
think him brave, surely, for I cannot avoid reflecting 
what would happen if a big wave were to submerge the 
tank and wash all out to sea! Having this in my mind I 
shun the tank, contenting myself with a dip in my own 
little tub of sea water. 

We are all interested in a land bird foolish enough to 
get into the rigging, doubtless while in port, forgetting 
to get off until too late to make shore. After four day's 
time it was still with us, sharing the food and water pro- 
vided for two dogs having their kennels on the after 
deck. We all hold our breaths when this brave, interest- 
ing feathered stowaway takes its daily exercise by flying 
out over the waves and back again into the rigging. I am 
wondering what thrilling story it will tell if lucky enough 
to reach the shores of one of the Hawaiian islands. 



20 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER IV 

I WAS awakened early the morning of our landing at 
Honolulu by the sailors making fast the rope-ladder 
for the use of the pilot, the port doctor and customs in- 
spectors, as they board our good ship for the usual for- 
malities on an occasion of this kind. We were still out at 
sea. I put on a bath robe, a long coat and slippers and 
stepped out on deck. The dawn was breaking and long 
fingers of light were stretching out in a loving manner 
over the heavens, replacing the stars with the golden 
light of the coming sun. There was still enough shadow 
in spots to allow the stars to look upon the Great Show 
which is so old and yet so beautifully fresh and young 
the dawn of a new day. While I watched the lights and 
shadows upon the waves, the sun came up out of the 
distant East, making of our ship's wake a golden 
thread in the deep green expanse of ocean. The ship's 
bow was pointed to a tiny speck on the horizon that 
grew and grew under the occult power of the dawn. We 
were quietly rolling along toward the island of Oahu. 
Diamond Head greeted me in all his great peace as he 
stands watch over the Island, welcoming me with sol- 
emn dignity. Now I could see a line of white surf break- 
ing far out from shore, then rolling in upon the beach 
where stately pineapple palms stretched themselves like 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 21 

giant spiders against the sky line. Spread before me was 
a picture that seemed to have come out of a story book, 
reminding me in fact of Robinson Crusoe. I fancied I 
could see his hut far up under the trees, and surely 
could that be he with his big umbrella and his faithful 
man Friday? No, my dream Robinson Crusoe has 
turned into a Chinese deck steward asking if "Missie 
would like tea on deck?" Rudely awakened from my day 
dreams, now hanging in space, I gave a fleeting glance 
over my shoulder down the long empty deck and out 
upon the nearing land, where I saw the Island like a 
jewel while the sun was giving it its full blessing. It 
was vibrating with light and warmth in the promise of 
another day. Then recalling my very informal garb, I 
precipitately dashed into my cabin and bath, to start 
the day as only a civilized human should. 

In a few hours we were alongside a very business-like 
wharf, being made fast while Hawaiian voices were 
singing their sweet plaintive songs of half tones and 
minor keys, touching the heart as no other native songs 
can, and bringing to the surface forgotten days when 
life was young and when we saw it only through rose- 
colored glasses. 



22 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER VI 

\ FEW good island friends met us, covering our necks 
.ZjL with flower lais, taking possession of us for the 
day. A lovely motor trip, a visit to the Aquarium, lunch- 
eon at the Club, tea at the home of our hospitable 
guides, and safely delivered back to our ship in ample 
time of her departure. Such was the wonderful day at 
Honolulu. 

Our cabins had again been rilled with flowers and 
joy of joys a wonderful cocoanut cake made with fresh 
cocoanut and tasting as no other cake ever tasted, was 
among the gifts from much traveled Amy and Harry, 
who had cabled their instructions so successfully. I hate 
to think of the pounds this delicious pastry is sure to 
put on me, for I am simply weak-minded when it comes 
to such goodies. 

We watched native boys diving for pennies, admiring 
their skill and marveling at their courage, for there were 
rumors of sharks, bold enough to come into the harbor 
for fresh dark meat. 

The day was going. The same beautiful day I had 
seen come into being seemingly but a few hours before. 
The ship slowly steamed out of the narrow channel and 
set her course for Japan. Once again I looked towards 
Diamond Head and this time received a sleepy good 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 23 

night from this watching sentinel, with an added "bon 
voyage" from the blinking lighthouse. I turned in to my 
cabin fatigued, but conscious of having enjoyed a happy 
day. A big moon now streamed through the port as it 
flitted in and out of the fleecy clouds, making the gently 
rolling sea a veritable shimmer of silver. I had stoutly 
maintained to the BifFys and R. that I plainly saw phos- 
phorescent lights, but was not only laughed at for my 
vivid imagination, but lengthy arguments were intro- 
duced to prove conclusively that my sleepy eyes de- 
ceived me. What is it about a woman convinced against 
her will? Well, I am that particular woman and still be- 
lieve the sea was alive with phosphorescent lights. 

Never shall I cease congratulating ourselves that we 
are blessed with such heavenly weather at sea this time 
of the year (early November). The sun shines so bright 
and sheds delicious warmth, the ocean is extremely well- 
behaved, like a mountain lake, almost reflecting the big 
featherbed effect clouds that nose about like sleepy 
puppies in the deep blue heavens. 

Our party of four good pals spend much time on deck, 
giving particular attention to the reading of guide books 
on the various countries we have planned to visit, con- 
sequently we are so mixed we finally do not know one 
country from another, having difficulty to visualize the 
wonders of each, before we have actually seen them. 

Reports as to the Chinese boycott of Japan and of 
Korea's dissatisfaction with Japanese rule, reach us in 
probably exaggerated form; nevertheless, we cannot 



24 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

help wondering if we shall not be witnesses of some of 
the manifestations of these racial disputes, as the feeling 
appears to be very strong on both sides. Our ship's list 
of passengers contains many Japanese, most of whom 
are returning students from educational institutions in 
the United States of America and England respectively. 
Books on socialism, efficiency and similar topics engaged 
the attention of most of them. Brief conversations with 
them convinced one that there was little of importance 
transpiring in our country or in England, that made for 
national growth and advancement, that escaped their 
observation. The Japanese suggest the Germans every 
thought, every act for themselves and their nation. 
Aboard our ship a little eighteen months old kiddie has 
been taught to stand at attention and cry out "Banzai" 
the national salute to his Emperor and Country. 
This round-faced, slant-eyed baby is a pure product of 
Japan, without a drop of strange blood in his veins, and 
a living symbol of this nation's conceit and what they 
are striving to become. 

Baron Goto, sometimes termed the "mad dog of 
Japan," is a shipmate but appears very peaceful and in- 
offensive. We sat together the other evening and he 
never bit me watching the native crew going through 
their wrestling bouts, a very ceremonious proceeding in 
Japan. The participants did well and appeared like fine 
bronze figures, sitting in a true circle around the ring 
awaiting their turn to contest. Overhead was a canopy 
of purple and yellow, with suspended bags of salt. As the 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 25 

wrestlers met in the centre of the ring to receive instruc- 
tions, they would presently turn toward a salt bag, ex- 
tract one pinch for their tongues and another pinch to 
be thrown over the left shoulder for luck, and then they 
would go at it not without being directly under the 
centre of the canopy, however, from which was hanging 
a fancy paper design, acting no doubt as a good luck 
charm. Immediately preceding each match, a very im- 
pressive personage with a high black hat and bright 
kimono, carrying a fan, would announce the names of 
the contestants, their records, etc. All this in sing-song 
blank verse that put you quite in the spirit of the middle 
ages and ancient Japan. I rather like these little bronze 
men who smile so easily, take to games like ducks to 
water, and seem like children in the playing of them. 
Baron acted throughout this interesting performance 
like a European or American, never seeming to lose his 
self-control, while the other Japanese gentlemen present 
gave vent to their excited emotions by throwing money 
into the arena, loudly shouting approval or derision as 
the contest proceeded. It was an interesting evening's 
entertainment. 

R. has been made chairman of the finance committee 
for deck sports which involves taking up a subscription 
among the passengers for funds to purchase inexpensive 
articles for prizes (to be bought from the ship's barber) 
and the remaining fund to go to the fund for Japanese 
seamen. Baron Goto was asked to head the list of sub- 
scribers and he set so good an example that other gener- 



26 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ous givers followed, with the result that $550.00 was 
subscribed, an unusually large sum, and one that estab- 
lished the high record for the Korea Maru. The sports 
were varied and amusing, young and old, male and fe- 
male and all races participating. They were confined, as 
a matter of course, to first cabin passengers. Musical 
chairs, cock fights, thread-the-needle, light the cigarette, 
sack races and other innumerable events were arranged 
and carried out to the amusement of the on-lookers, of 
whom there were many. Thus several hours of each 
afternoon for the elapsed time between Honolulu and 
Yokohama were pleasantly spent, culminating in the 
ceremony of awarding prizes, combined with a special 
dinner given to the ship's company by its commander, 
at which fancy dress was the costume. In anticipation 
of this latter event for days one ransacked one's mind 
as to what would constitute a proper fancy dress, fol- 
lowed by ransacking one's luggage for inspiration. It is 
truly wonderful what human ingenuity will design in 
matters of this kind and under circumstances such as I 
have described, for the Captain's dinner was a huge 
success in the number, variety and merit of the cos- 
tumes worn. Then and there, most of us vowed never 
to cross the Pacific without being equipped with a fancy 
dress garb in our roll of rugs. The dinner was extra spe- 
cial, the awarding speeches very fitting, and finally all 
American voices joined in the "Star Spangled Banner" 
quite as lustily, even if the words were not so plainly 
enunciated, as when the Japanese held forth with their 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 27 

national anthem, or the Britishers with "God Save the 
King." This was followed by dancing on deck, until a 
squall and a bit of rough sea transferred the tripping 
into the salon and passage ways. 



28 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER VI 

TOMORROW we cross the line of the i Both meridian 
and besides putting our time one-half hour ahead 
of that prevailing today, we shall also have the unique 
sensation of having lost a whole day, in other words we 
go from Wednesday to Friday. This particular spot is 
wasteful of time for the west-bound voyager, but thrifty 
of the same article for the east-bound. When we return 
we shall get back that day by having two Wednesdays 
or Thursdays, as the case may be. Efforts to explain this 
matter to me have failed dismally, so I must accept it 
as a proper fact. I am, nevertheless, reminded of my 
good old darkey cook in Virginia, who listened atten- 
tively when I explained the putting ahead of our clocks 
when the daylight saving law went into effect during 
the war days. The reasons for it were put in as simple 
language as I could command. Old Lizzie obediently 
acquiesced in what she was told to do, but nevertheless 
relieved her mind with: "Why bless my soul, Miss 
Blanche, that man in Washington must think himself 
Jesus Christ, to think he can make de sun come up 
earlier!" 

It does not seem possible that we are on the vast Pa- 
cific, for it is truly like a mill pond. Nevertheless we are 
hearing all kinds of stories that "the worst is yet to 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 2 9 

come," and that turbulent seas and strong winds are to 
be encountered before Japan's shores heave in sight. It 
is a comforting thought to know that only two days 
more are ahead of us. At the "movies" last night Lady 
Peale, sitting directly in front, was overheard relating 
a most thrilling story to her companion, delivered with 
an air of assurance, to the effect that it was indeed a 
bad omen that our big ship was listing to port, that a 
number of rats had been seen on deck, that the glass 
was falling, and that all this portended a horrible night 
with fearful consequences. Immediately we pictured to 
ourselves all the phases of a disaster at sea, even saw 
ourselves taking to the life boats, wondering if my bath 
robe over my night dress would be adequately warm. 
How a foolish tongue is apt to form bad impressions. It 
only tends to show how we should guard every uttered 
word, or even a very thought for the creation of a 
thought vibration is surely a big responsibility, as there 
is no telling how it may influence you or your neighbor. 
As I look skyward through the four wires extending 
from the masthead, and connecting with the wireless 
instrument below a little bit of a piece of mechanism 
and realize that messages come to it out of that clear 
blue atmosphere, the innocent looking heavens, I stand 
in awe, knowing and appreciating that thoughts are 
things, that man is fast learning his lesson, bringing 
it down into practical everyday life. How few there 
are who, looking at this scientifically constructed ma- 
chine on board our ship, that know and feel it is 



jo NEW YORK TO PEKING 

the nearest thing to the spiritual side of life that we 
encounter. 

On this lovely Sunday morning I had found a dear 
little corner on the bridge deck, on the leeward side and 
behind the stowed life boats. Here I could unob- 
structedly see the sea and watch the ship turn over great 
furrows in the deep expanse of blue water. From a deck 
below the strains of a hymn would come to me, then in- 
distinct tones of the sermon being delivered by the mis- 
sionary divine who was officiating at service doubtless 
preaching a good lesson. All at once the wireless ticked 
out a message, probably from the States and coming 
such a distance, undoubtedly of much importance. In- 
voluntarily I was wrapped in contemplation of how very 
human and spiritual it was, and how man had actually 
tapped the God thought in the development of this 
science. But how few, how very few there were that 
Sunday morning to allow their thought prayers to run 
up to God through these four little wires, through the 
medium of the brightly polished instrument, or how 
few realized that we have placed our feet on the first 
step of the ladder to enable us to reach the goal whence 
God and our souls will be made manifest to us through 
Love and knowledge, rather than by fear and super- 
stition. And, as I said before, we must curb our thougths 
and tongues, as the four wires and brightly polished 
wires in the other fellow's mind may get our impres- 
sions, and we must see that our messages are worth 
remembering, or fit for reproduction. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 31 

To Lady Peale I am indebted for a wakeful night 
followed by a headache. The Korea Maru did not turn 
bottom side up, and the rats are still on board for I 
saw one a moment ago out of the corner of my eye, 
neither was my bath robe used to cover my robe de 
nuity as I embarked in the much dreaded life boat. So 
who denies that thoughts are things? If I put this ques- 
tion to our four business-like looking wires, I am sure 
they will want to tick back, "Not I." 

We crowed too soon about our perfectly marvelous 
crossing, for the last day out punished us for boasting. 
After the passengers had their dance last night, Korea 
Maru tried her hand, or whatever else she uses, at a 
bit of dancing herself and I should say with complete 
success. The striking into the Japan current, or "black 
stream," is usually attended with more or less excite- 
ment of this kind, but it was over in due time and then 
we were met by the port pilot to conduct us into beauti- 
ful Yokohama harbor. The doctor came from quaran- 
tine station to inspect us and make certain we were not 
smuggling the plague or other dreadful things into the 
land of the Rising Sun. Then came the passport in- 
spectors, with true oriental inquisitiveness as to why 
people with good homes want to leave them all this 
time our ship was being warped into her wharf what- 
ever that may mean. 



32 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER VII 

MRS. BIFFY, who surely has second sight and the 
keenest human sense of observation of any living 
mortal, stood at the promenade rail looking out upon 
hundreds of people who lined the pier at which we were 
to be docked. Suddenly she came to me and said, "I do 
believe I see Billy K." Said I, "But how in the world 
did you ever know Billy K?" "I don't know him I only 
have an intuition that the big handsome chap is your 
friend, and that he has been craning his neck for the 
past quarter of an hour to see you." Frantic salutations 
between ourselves and Billie K. were established at 
once, long-distance introductions of our friends, the 
Biffys, effected, and then we awaited with much impa- 
tience our actually accomplished arrival on Japanese 
soil. Billie K. extended a warm welcome indeed, par- 
ticularly appreciated as the big-hearted soul had spent 
hours on the chilly pier awaiting the ship's arrival. 

I think Mrs. Biffy and I were a bit disappointed to 
find a motor car awaiting us, thanks to Billie K.'s fore- 
sight, for we had imagined ourselves being transported 
to our hotel in rickshaws that were lined up expectantly, 
like Grandpa go-carts. It turned out later that it was 
fortunate for us to have had the luxurious Fierce-Arrow, 
for the rooms the Grand Hotel had agreed to reserve for 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 33 

us were not available, nor was there anything besides a 
billiard table on which to lay our weary heads to be 
had, hence we dashed about from hotel to hotel, well 
in advance of the aforesaid Grandpa go-carts, and se- 
cured a resting place at the Oriental Palace Hotel, 
where we soon ate our first tiffin in the East. A few 
hours later found us having tea with our hospitable 
friends, the Paul M.'s, enjoying the touch of a real 
home, and adoring the big hearted hostess behind her 
tea tray, who took it as a matter of course that a dozen 
people should happen in quite informally to sip the cup 
that cheers and discuss world topics, for these people 
must of necessity be international, and not local or pro- 
vincial. It was an interesting phase of things to observe, 
how the Western nations fraternize when they abide in 
the far East. 

Our Ambassador, Mr. Roland Morris, bade us to an 
informal tiffin at the Embassy in Tokyo, upon present- 
ing our letters of introduction to him. He asked us if 
he could serve us in any possible way, and we broadly 
hinted that the Emperor's Chrysanthemum Garden 
Party would be a function we should like to attend, 
could he secure invitations for our party? Alas! and 
alack! the foreign embassies are limited as to the num- 
ber of invitations they can command, and the lists had 
not only been filled a few days ago, but the time for 
applying for privileges had expired, and moreover the 
Ambassador had promised not to ask for any unusual 
courtesies, having been granted an exceptional favor at 



34 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

the previous Garden Party; so it looked mighty unfav- 
orable for us until the Ambassador volunteered to see 
what he could do, saying that as we were all so closely 
associated in American Red Cross work during the 
trying times of 1917-18, the least he could do would be 
to draw upon his resources for providing us with the de- 
sired "commands" to appear at the Garden Party. A 
few days later he informed us that all had been ar- 
ranged, to our satisfaction. It seems he had recalled 
that R. had assisted in the entertainment of Prince 
Tokugawa, when the latter visited Washington in 
charge of a Japanese Red Cross mission at any rate 
the impressive invitations were forthcoming, and we are 
delighted at the prospect of attending. Uppermost in 
the minds of Mrs. Biffy and myself is the question 
what to wear? Our men have gone to local Chinese 
tailors for their long frock coats, as no other garment 
would be tolerated. Thank heaven, they have brought 
their own top hats of recent vintage, for one hates to 
think what they might get if they undertook to provide 
themselves here; so in due time we are off to see and 
meet the Imperial family of this little, but powerful 
island. 

The Garden Party in the autumn is the celebration 
of the Chrysanthemum, corresponding to the Cherry 
Blossom Garden Party in the Springtime. Of our partic- 
ular Garden Party I will speak later. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER VIII 

I HAVE engaged an "amah," and as she sits on the 
floor in her gaily colored kimonos, darning my ugly 
black stockings, what do you suppose she thinks of me, 
surrounded by so many seemingly unnecessary things. 
For you certainly are impressed with the little it takes in 
the East to make the natives happy. Despite the fact 
that both Japanese men and women put on one silk 
kimono on top of the other, not unlike a head of lettuce, 
the dark and heavy ones on the outside, the dainty col- 
orful ones next to their bodies the garb presents a neat 
and simple effect. It is to be deplored that the foreign 
style of dressing is replacing the picturesque costumes 
of old Japan, and not so much because of the desire to 
imitate the Americans and Europeans, but it has ac- 
tually resolved itself into an economic question. The 
cost of a man's suit of clothes, such as our own men 
wear, is about one quarter that of the outfit worn by the 
native Japanese. Women's clothes are proportionate in 
value. Both have reference to the clothes worn by the 
wealthier classes. 

It took but a few minutes to make up our minds to 
take a run up into the mountains, reluctant as we were 
to quit Yokohama, where our good friends, the K.'s and 
M.'s, were killing us with hospitality, sowed in lavish 



j6 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

abundance. But our Japan stay was limited, and it 
behooved us to be on our way. A two and a half 
hour railway ride through a perfectly charming ag- 
ricultural country unfolded to our eyes a most beau- 
tifully cultivated land, intensively tilled, mostly by 
women with babies on their backs, standing knee 
deep in the water and mud of the rice fields. Others 
engaged in harvesting the bountiful crop were pulling 
large armfuls of rice straw through quaint combs, per- 
forming by skillful, industrious hands what our modern 
machinery at home would do in a fraction of the time. 
But human energy is still inexpensive in Japan! 

The price of such highly successful fertilization of the 
limitless fields of Japan for every inch of it seems to 
be cultivated is the "smell of Japan." It is ever-pres- 
ent, particularly in the country, although even the big 
cities are by no means free from it. We early made a 
vow never to eat anything grown above ground, that 
had not been cooked. 

At a little station, Kozu, we again had a glimpse of 
the sea, but upon taking the waiting motor, we turned 
our backs upon it and struck into the mountains. The 
guide books mention this point as one promising a sight 
of the sacred Fujiyama, but on this particular mid-day, 
he failed to show. Fuji and I have only met once 
notwithstanding that this is my second visit to Japan 
and that was two days ago in Yokohama. The clouds 
cleared for an hour, and I revelled in the sight of this 
truly beautiful peak, majestic beyond all words. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING jj 

A winding road, substantially constructed, led us to 
the Fujiya Hotel at Miyanoshita, an exceedingly pretty 
spot accentuated by the blazing red maples that artisti- 
cally adorned the hillside on every hand. Our snorting 
motor car finally came to a halt at the door of the hotel, 
where a smiling attendant opened our mud-covered cur- 
tains and helped us to alight. We ascended a broad 
staircase with its red lacquer railing into a bright sun 
glass parlor, furnished with homey things and contain- 
ing a huge cage of birds, singing their very hearts out. 
Our rooms are delightfully cozy, and overlook the hand- 
some grounds as well as some adjacent cottages or bun- 
galows. Our view covers a stretch of miles down the 
valley whence our lovely ride had taken us, and the 
mountain sides are thickly covered with red and yellow 
maples. Meanwhile a mountain storm had set in, and 
oh! how it rained! 

Nothing daunted, we put on our rain coats and 
started out to see the native village that nestled just be- 
low us. A winding well-kept street of shops, little shops, 
each quite like the other in looks and size, but differing 
in the articles offered for sale. Wooden toys seemed to 
predominate, particularly trick toys, followed by an as- 
sortment of hair ornaments, beads, carvings and the 
like. A large establishment quite outshone all these les- 
ser ones, creditable in a city of size, maintained by Na- 
kada Brothers, whose stock of beautiful curios, brass, 
lacquer, porcelain and bronze, quite took our breath 
away. Here we purchased two adorable temple lamps 



38 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

(to use as electric lights) for our Virginia home, also 
some ancient temple tassels and cords of exquisite pink. 
Back we trudged to the hotel through mud and water to 
avail ourselves of a cheery cup of tea at the fire side 
of our comfortable quarters, which quite blocked the 
cold wind and rain that was whipping and lashing the 
little plum and cedar trees on the terrace below. Never- 
theless our thoughts of sympathy were with these na- 
tive hill people we had just left, whom we admire for 
their sturdiness and constant good nature. How can 
they derive sufficient comfort in those flimsy buildings, 
with their paper partitions, windows and doors? And 
still they smile, while we depend upon a heated room, a 
cup of tea, and later the stimulating cocktail before 
dinner, to help us forget that there is a howling moun- 
tain storm without. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 39 



CHAPTER IX 

IN THE morning when I rang for a fresh fire, a smiling 
little maid responded (coming in without knocking) 
and soon had the room dancing with firelight. I watched 
the fantastic shadows on the ceiling, reflecting her 
graceful kimono arms adjusting the fenders, and arrang- 
ing the fireplace so it was neat and spotless. Presently 
she reappeared with a red lacquer tray covered with 
shining linen cloth, tasteful blue and white porcelain, 
and a breakfast fit for a queen. How lazy and mammoth 
I feel as this dainty, diminutive specimen of humanity 
places it before me. The coffee steaming hot, the toast 
crisp and fresh, and a bit of fish which I am sure swam 
direct from stream to kitchen, with an urgent request to 
be cooked and served. 

Today the sun is shining gloriously, and it is difficult 
to believe it has not constantly been shining. Its warmth 
fills our soul with the joy of living. We planned an 
early breakfast, for our masculine partners are leaving 
us shortly after midday for a brief absence, returning to 
Yokohama to attend a dinner of the American-Japan 
Society. So after a trip to the telegraph office to dis- 
patch a wire to Ambassador Morris, acknowledging 
with thanks the arrangement for our Garden Party in- 
vitations, we set off for a long hike, Frances (Mrs. Biffy) 



40 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

having posted herself from the Japanese-speaking hotel 
porter as to the course to be steered. Before going two 
miles we were hopelessly lost and retracing our steps, 
Frances soon redeemed herself by pointing with great 
glee to a sign in Japanese characters in the direction of 
a hilltop, whence we obtained a most magnificent view 
of Fuji, simultaneously with a view of the sea. 

One cannot help being impressed with the orderliness 
of these little people. Their well kept forests, substan- 
tially constructed roads, protected artistic waterfalls 
everything but their children's noses they seem to rival 
the waterfalls in running; it is a pity that force cannot 
be employed in some way, as they have controlled 
water power! Dear old Fuji was majestic and as his 
snow-capped peak burst upon our view, it quite took 
our breath away. He seems so wise and grand, and at 
the same time, so dignified and cold. His sides glistened 
in the sunlight, revealing the thickly grown timber line. 
No wonder he bears the name of sacred mountain, for I 
am sure you can get a holy inspiration as you stand and 
gaze at his wise old head and look to your very heart's 
content, ere coming down to earth again to click your 
camera shutter at him, knowing full well all the time, 
that the photograph you will get will not even give you 
the smallest idea of the beauty and grandeur of the 
scene. 

We kept on our climb, eventually reaching the sum- 
mit. There the sea again burst upon our view. How per- 
fectly lovely it all was, the shore line gracefully curved 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 41 

in horseshoe fashion, extending as far as the eye could 
reach, the placid sea all aglow. Little fishing villages 
for miles and miles along the coast looked like tiny 
specks, while the numberless fishing craft dotting the 
huge bay appeared like lily petals in a pond. 

Forestration is a successful science as practiced in Ja- 
pan. Trees are replanted every twenty years, and the 
cutting of matured timber is carried on' with intelligent 
understanding. Such a wise system compared with our 
own wasteful cutting whenever and wherever com- 
mercial fancy dictates, with never a thought for the 
generations to follow. Speaking of these little tracts of 
timber, grown in twenty year cycles, a strange thing 
happened. R. and I were together making this charming 
climb to Fuji-view, and my fur boa becoming burden- 
some, R. asked to carry it for me. Upon reaching the 
end of the climb the boa was missing. The thought in- 
stantly flashed across my mind, "Don't worry, you will 
find it on the way home under the trees," (a picture 
of which likewise was reflected in my mind). It should 
be explained that most of the trail led through dense 
underbrush, only here and there it was bordered by the 
growing pines. Sure enough, upon coming to a clump of 
trees, marking a turn in the trail-path, there lay the 
missing fur boa, illustrating the correctness, at times, 
of our subconscious mind. Were it not so commonplace, 
one might feel "spooky" about such happenings. 

Our men sidepartners have left us for a day, and we 
girls are preparing for a "lone dinner," wondering how 



42 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

we can manage a cocktail without resorting to under- 
hand methods, so we decide upon an open and above 
board play, simplying ordering it in the lounge-room 
and consuming it as indifferently as it is possible for 
us to do so. Then we dined in solitary grandeur. 

Tomorrow is the date fixed for the arrival of the first 
mail from home, and heaven help all my near and dear 
ones if you are not fully and appropriately represented. 



43 



CHAPTER X 

"XJOVEMBER 21, 1919, the day of the Emperor's 
-L i Garden Party. The elements were neither kind nor 
considerate, for it rained and then it rained some more. 
Specific instructions, accompanying the invitations, 
prescribed the dress we women in afternoon frocks, 
the men in long coats and top hats so we had no alter- 
native but to obey. Hip boots, it seemed to me, would 
have been more fitting. 

Our staying in Yokohama necessitated a ride to 
Tokyo, 1 8 miles away, and upon arrival we packed our- 
selves in an automobile of very restricted dimensions, 
our overdressed husbands managing their shiny tiles 
with considerable difficulty. We stopped at the U. S. 
Embassy for our cards of admission to the Imperial 
grounds, and soon after presented them at an imposing 
gate, to reach which we crossed the double-moated 
palace wall-enclosure. The general aspect of the Em- 
peror's abode is quite like any well-maintained Euro- 
pean monarch's palace, but the grounds differ in that the 
art of the Japanese shines prominently, converting the 
landscape into a scene that is at once a delight and com- 
fort to the eye. After wending our way through beauti- 
ful paths, mingling with hundreds of other guests of 
every nationality, guided by liveried lackeys whose gor- 



44 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

geous raiment was drooping with soddenness, we came 
to the exhibition tents where the Chrysanthemum was 
King. Words fail me to describe this magnificent dis- 
play of horticulture, developed to the highest degree un- 
der imperial authority and direction, and here sub- 
jected to the public gaze or such of the public for- 
tunate enough to be bidden a privilege we deeply ap- 
preciated. I shall never forget the single plant of per- 
fectly huge dimensions, successfully growing six differ- 
ent varieties all exquisite Chrysanthemums. 

Presently we were directed to a spacious tent where 
gold-laced attaches from the foreign embassies and lega- 
tions, dainty Japanese ladies, somber Japanese, Euro- 
pean and American gentlemen and a few of our own sex 
and kind had preceded to refresh ourselves with tea, 
cakes, sake wine, etc. 

Obviously the Emperor and Empress were not pres- 
ent or in evidence. They never appear in case it rains, 
for they simply will not assume the risk of spoiling their 
clothes French frocks in the case of the Empress and 
her ladies-in-waiting. It is a marvel, not understandable 
to the Western mind, why these ladies insist upon wear- 
ing French models when their own finery not only be- 
comes them better, but most naturally pleases the eye 
more. 

From the Garden Party we betook ourselves to the 
Russian embassy by invitation, to hear our friend and 
former co-worker in the American Red Cross, Dr. Ru- 
dolf Teusler, give an illustrated talk on Siberia. In spite 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 45 

of the fall of imperialistic Russia, its embassies and lega- 
tions are still being maintained in most of the world's 
capitals. The Tokyo embassy and Peking legation are 
financed, I understand, by the indemnity China is still 
paying Russia, on account of the Boxer Rebellion. 

Mr. Krupensky, the Russian Ambassador to Japan, 
welcomed us most cordially, and promptly served us 
Russian tea in a dainty old China porcelain cup. His 
spacious ballroom was arranged for the entertainment 
to which we had been bidden, and it did not take long 
to fill it with a gathering of representative Americans, 
British, French, Russians, and a sprinkling of other al- 
lied nations. We recognized a number of our friends who 
had been at the Imperial Garden Party. 

Dr. Teusler had spent practically fifteen months in 
Siberia, in charge of the vast work of relief undertaken 
by the American Red Cross. He directed a staff of over 
six hundred people, associated with him in this most 
difficult of all war-relief work, and he had the handling 
of over fifteen millions of dollars during that time. The 
severity of the climate, the enormous distances to be 
covered (it required two weeks constant railroad travel 
with his special train to move between the extreme 
points of the territory assigned to him) and the short- 
age, or in many instances the non-existence of supplies 
and talent, made the undertaking of doing the number- 
less things for the relief of the sick and wounded and of 
the needy refugees, a task from which the ordinary man 
or woman would shrink in sheer despair. 



46 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

The dread typhus is the most formidable enemy to 
fight, particularly when the facilities for caring for the 
patients are few, far-between, and at best inadequate in 
size, equipment or in medical talent. The heart-breaking 
stories of the starving touched hearts of stone, if there 
were any in that audience, which I doubt. Transporting 
wounded and the sick, piled literally like cord wood, and 
on arrival sorting the living from the dead how long 
dead it was impossible to say. He told of the brave nur- 
ses, saints indeed, the frail little beings with courage and 
spirit of a giant, doing heroic things each hour of every 
busy day, until we all felt like low-down slackers. Re- 
verting to a pleasanter vein, he told of the many 
young girl refugees, ranging between fourteen and 
eighteen years of age, who apparently missed the pretty 
things of life, such as bits of lace and ribbon, the lack 
of which really undermined their morals. In fact they 
were rapidly reaching the point of not caring what 
would happen next! In some cases they had actually 
used different colored papers in their hair to satisfy a 
girl's natural desire to look as pretty as possible. The 
next day a member of our party sent a quantity of rib- 
bon and lace to the Red Cross in Siberia that these girls 
might gratify their womanly traits, indirectly helping 
to make good mothers of them for the future genera- 
tions. 

The excitement of the war now being over, the Am- 
erican Red Cross, and similar relief agencies, find it 
hard to maintain enthusiasm among those who are de- 



41 

pended upon as workers. It is all too manifest that we 
women of the world, having given up our feverish 
knitting and sewing, do not realize that millions of hu- 
man souls are still feeling the lack of warm clothing and 
the other blessed comforts heretofore supplied by that 
biggest Mother of them all the Red Cross. What a 
pity this has come to pass, for we were nearer the spirit 
of brotherly love than at any time since the world be- 
gan. Every woman in the land was working at top speed 
over sweater, sock, or other garment, to clothe the 
needy and unfortunate, possessed of that love of service 
in her heart that did more to help win the war than 
any other living force. It helped spiritually to win the 
battle that was raging between right and wrong, and 
it was fought out on a higher plane than the physical 
one, the final outcome of the latter being only the shad- 
ow of the great issue actually involved. 

After a full and interesting day our hotel quarters 
seemed very "comfy" and our good warm beds a joy. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XI 

r I ^HE dear "stay-at-homes" did not disappoint, for 
_L letters, lovely letters, arrived in the last mail. 
Some were written while we still lingered, unintention- 
ally, on U. S. soil, but nevertheless these were tidings 
from the loved ones and, after all, that is the principal 
thing. I am still at Miyanoshita awaiting the return of 
R., but Biffy has just arrived and reports that R.'s 
cold was such that he sensibly followed medical advice 
and remained in Yokohama. Needless to say I took the 
first train back, which seemed all too slow in arriving. 
Found my boy ever so much better than my anxious 
state of mind imagined, and again convinced myself 
that one worries far more over the things that do not 
happen than those which actually occur. The Biffys 
were so good and kind to me, trying to ease my distress 
and heartache bless them for the effort. R. will be 
himself again in a few days time. 

Our good Yokohama friends hereabouts have quite 
turned our heads with their lavish attentions. Every 
tiffin, tea and dinner spoken for, some of them several 
times over, for days ahead, and if we do not soon start 
on our trip to the interior, we will be unfit to undertake 
it. We will be too "soft," for we are living on the fat 
of the land but not butter! Nothing seems too much 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 49 

trouble, and we seem constantly to be in the minds of 
our good friends. It gives us such a heart throb. 

Here is a little international incident. R.'s watch met 
with an accident, so he and Billie K. looked up a watch- 
maker. It developed that an old Frenchman was the 
most expert repair man in Yokohama, but he spoke 
neither English nor Japanese. Billie K. and my hus- 
band complained that their best French was unintelli- 
gible to the watchmaker. The latter's Japanese wife 
was called into the conference, so she translated the 
watchmaker's French into Japanese. Billie K. trans- 
lated her Japanese into English, with the result that 
the Swiss watch, owned by an American, was repaired 
by a Frenchman who received his orders through a 
Japanese. Cost of the job twelve and one-half cents in 
U. S. money. Let us hope the watch will now keep good 
time in any language. 

This particular November morning we were awak- 
ened by the violent rain whipping against our window 
panes with the force of terrific hail. The ships in Mis- 
sissippi Bay (Yokohama) looked like phantom ships, 
they seemed so lost in the mist and rain, blowing in in 
mighty gusts from the ocean. Our rooms oh, they 
were as damp and cold as ice boxes ! R. and I had heavy 
colds and had coughed most of the night. Life was not 
at high tide of happiness, and I was reminded of the 
day on the Mediterranean when my stewardess im- 
patiently remarked: "Why people with good homes 
ever leave them, is more than I can understand." The 



SO NEW YORK TO PEKING 

thought of balmy climes was uppermost in my mind, so 
when Frances and I indulged in day-dreams of travel- 
ing southwards, and spoke of India as our goal (having 
before us always the desire to go where it was cuddly 
warm) our considerate husbands not only failed to 
offer a single objection, but heartily chimed in in their 
readiness to start off as soon as a ship could be had to 
carry us no simple thing in these days of heavy travel, 
very few and mostly small steamers. Captain Watson 
of the U. S. Embassy dropped in for tiffin, and gave 
things a big push, and added fuel to the excited flame 
by arranging all our passport formalities for us, and 
adding that friends of his were sailing for India the 
following week, and space on the same ship was doubt- 
less still obtainable. Then we all talked at once and 
each added a feature to our program, so in short order 
we had determined to make a complete circuit of the 
globe, necessitating our skimming over Japan and 
barely touching a port or two in China all in our 
eagerness to get to the tropics in general, to India dur- 
ing the season in particular. 

Thank goodness, the hotel people contrived to put on 
more steam a few hours later, and life not only looked 
different to us, but there was not that overwhelming de- 
sire to go to India for the purpose of getting warm. To- 
night, therefore, we are actually fatigued from our elab- 
orate and wearisome planning of this "hot-air" trip, and 
we have settled down very obediently to our first and 
original plan of visiting Korea and China after seeing 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 51 

Japan. R. and I return to the U. S. A. the latter part of 
January, the Biffys probably going on around the 
world. 

We have been beautifully entertained by our good 
Yokohama friends, and their kindness to us will ever be 
remembered. While we were victims of bad colds, May 
and Billie K. offered us the use of their attractive home 
and own private apartments, an offer we of course 
promptly declined but none the less greatly prized, as 
we know it would have meant their occupying small 
rooms in the rear. About the same time in walked Cap- 
tain Watson with word from Mrs. Watson to bring us 
bag and baggage to their home in Tokyo. Southern hos- 
pitality certainly has its equal with the Americans we 
know in Japan. We are the proud owners of an oil 
stove, which has converted my blue thoughts into bright 
sunny vision. Just that little added warmth did the 
trick, and life again seems quite worth while. Before that, 
with the rain splashing fiercely, our rooms damp and 
cold, both R. and I afflicted with hard colds, we are not 
to be be blamed for sending an S. O. S. across the street 
to our friends the Billie K.'s, in response to which he 
appeared with an oil stove, his capable servant softly 
gliding in after him with a supply of Standard Oil's 
best. We were like children, what with our finger tips 
getting back to normal warmth again, making the 
world over for us. So we got our tea basket, called in 
the Biffys, and with Billie K. we comprised a jolly after- 
noon tea party, Chiyo, my little Japanese maid, mak- 



52 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ing the tea and serving it beautifully, looking the part 
at every turn of her head. I wonder if everyone knows 
what a difference a good cup of tea makes in one's 
point of view ? 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 53 



CHAPTER XII 

OUR night in room 31, Oriental Palace Hotel, Yoko- 
hama, facing the Bund, was a lively one. Never 
have I known such wind! Our bedroom with its tiny 
sitting-room faces east, and looks out upon the sea. It 
is like the crow's nest on the masthead of a steamer, 
receiving the full force of the storm, the gale blowing 
in one long glass window after another, all the while 
howling through our quarters, making sleep impossible. 
No sooner do we return to our beds from having secured 
one blown-open window, than it requires our combined 
efforts and strength to close another, and similarly we 
repeat this operation innumerable times. Our Christ- 
mas cards had been addressed and were ready for mail- 
ing by the next steamer. The wind played havoc with 
them, scattering them indiscriminately and broadcast, 
until our floors resembled a country road after a speed- 
ing motorist had run over a flock of white leghorns, 
leaving the air and surface completely filled with white 
particles. I am quite sure some of the cards went out of 
the window, preferring to take the air route to America, 
so if any of our dear playmates are "shy" a card, charge 
it up to the tempest that struck the Japan coast the last 
of November, 1919. 

We were awakened first by what we deemed to be a 



54 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

boat in distress and it sounded like a siren horn. It 
sounded exactly as though it originated almost be- 
neath our windows, for you must know that we are 
near enough to the sea's edge to enable us to throw a 
biscuit into the briny deep from our windows. We were 
relieved to find that our large windows had blown open 
and the howling wind, penetrating every opening, was 
pitched in so shrill and high a key, that it resembled 
for all the world a signal of distress. 

We longed for morning and daylight, to see that the 
many ships in the harbor were safe. The sea was giving 
out a mighty roar. We could catch the flashes of the 
shore and harbor lighthouses. I found myself sending 
up a silent prayer that the lenses were bright and clean, 
so that the light would guide the mariner in steering his 
craft safely into port. The break of dawn came all too 
slowly, but we were at our windows, eagerly straining 
our eyes. The harbor was filled with ships, many doubt- 
less having sought refuge during the night, both big 
and little ones. One large ship had dragged her anchor 
and caused a bad mixup with other vessels, but the dis- 
entangling process was on, and in due time things read- 
justed themselves and all was safe and quiet again. 

The BifFys have been prevailed upon not to wait for 
us, victims of colds, but to start on the planned tour of 
"real" Japan, so they are off this morning for Kyoto, 
where we have promised to overtake them in due time. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 55 



CHAPTER XIII 

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1919. It is hard to realize 
that this is one of our national holidays, for of 
course Japan does not observe it. Business as usual, all 
shops open and only a few Americans walking home from 
church, apparently dressed in their "Sunday-go-to- 
meetings," convey the smallest idea to us of the holi- 
day. The U. S. Embassy at Tokyo was "at home" to- 
day for all U. S. citizens, but we are still indisposed 
with colds, so could not pay our respects as we would 
have liked to do. Instead, we inflicted ourselves upon 
the Billie K.'s for tea, and were urged to remain for 
Thanksgiving dinner, which we reluctantly declined. 
The K. roof is more than hospitable. We are across-the- 
street neighbors, our respective windows being sepa- 
rated only by the width of a narrow street. When the 
K.'s door bell rings, we rush to see who is calling. On 
their side, they can keep an eye on our doings. Their 
home is a square old stone building that comprised 
Billie K.'s office and lodgings in his bachelor days, some 
years ago. The present home is beautifully arranged, 
having big rooms, few in number, tastefully filled with 
art treasures from Japan and China. Practically every- 
thing is an object worthy of a museum. The cheery open 
fireplaces, May's attractive tea tray from which she 



56 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

serves you most delicious tea, either a la European or a 
la Japanese, in those exquisite white porcelain cups 
(without handles) resting on silver lotus leaves, make 
an impression that is pleasantly stored up in our mem- 
ory. Cakes, perfectly wonderful cakes, as only her na- 
tive cook can bake them, are world-renowned, and 
everyone that comes to Japan that is anyone is so for- 
tunate as to have tea, tiffin or dinner with this attrac- 
tive couple. 

We talk long over our cups before a glowing fire, par- 
ticularly of the many lovely things for which Japan is 
famed. Our host may disappear to visit his "go-down" 
or storehouse, only to return shortly with some espe- 
cially attractive piece of ware, a marvelous print, a 
precious bronze, or a remarkable specimen of brocade, 
etc., to help round out his point in the conversation we 
have purposely brought around to the subject of Jap- 
anese art. It is so worth while and instructive to visit 
with the Billie K's. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 57 



CHAPTER XIV 

WE DEEM this a red-letter day, for we experienced 
our first formal ceremonial tea given us by Mr. 
and Mrs. Yamanaka, of Kyoto, a very great privilege 
to have been so favored, we think. Dressed in our very 
best, we were conveyed by rickshaws to the gate of the 
Yamanaka home. As we walked through the wonderful 
garden, the host came to the entrance of his attractive 
home to greet us. Servants removed our shoes and sub- 
stituted them with the soft temple slippers our guide, 
Akiyama, had previously tucked into our rickshaws. 
We entered a lovely reception room, with its soft cush- 
ioned matted floor, neither chairs nor tables being in 
evidence, as a matter of course. These small, low-ceil- 
ing rooms make us foreigners feel like Gulliver coming 
to call on midgets. We had to bend our heads while 
passing through doorways, and the ceiling sills allowed 
none too much space above. It was a matter of watch- 
ing your step, particularly in our case, walking in soft 
woolen slippers. I was reminded of my childhood days 
walking over a bed while engaged in a pillow fight. We 
seemed fairly to sink into the lovely padded floor cover- 
ings. 

Our host, a genial Japanese gentleman who speaks 
English fluently, seemed pleased to have us admire his 



5<? NEW YORK TO PEKING 

perfect home and garden. First, we were ushered into a 
square room having a dark blue cloth over the matting. 
Cushions of brown and gold were provided for each of 
us on which to seat ourselves, arm-rest tables being at 
hand if wanted. In the center were two adorable bronze 
braziers with silver poker to rearrange the charcoal fire. 
The ever-present kakomono, a beautifully painted 
scroll, hung in a niche of the room, and custom has it 
that the guest of honor must be placed near it. Present- 
ly a sliding door was opened and a man servant, bow- 
ing by touching his forehead to the floor, brought small 
cups of porcelain containing rice and barley. We sipped 
this slowly whilst marveling just how long we could 
keep in this uncomfortable position in which we were 
sitting, mentally feeling sorry for the Buddhas that 
have been sitting for hundreds of years no wonder 
they have turned to wood, stone or bronze. By this time 
all sense of feeling from the waist down had gone, but 
we were thankful that we could still smile and bow from 
the waist up, mentally speculating all the while whether, 
when the time to move arrives, our limbs will be in 
working order. In due time we undertake to rise, feeling 
very much like a camel looks, as we get up in sections. 
A fairy-like slide of one of the wall partitions and our 
hostess was before us, bowing low andgracefully,bidding 
us welcome and suggesting that we accompany her to 
the piece de resistance the ceremonial tea room. To 
conduct this tea ceremonial as Mrs. Yamanaka did, in- 
volves long and concentrated study. The fire is laid 



TSSEW YORK TO PEKING 59 

with two kinds of charcoal, white and black, large and 
small pieces respectively. A kettle very unlike the 
kind we know, being without a spout made of wrought 
copper and having a removable handle containing the 
water that has been boiling for some hours is now placed 
upon the charcoal fire. The hostess has a bright red 
cloth in her obi, which she unfolds with much care and 
uses for handling the kettle, refolding said cloth and 
tucking it again into her obi with much ceremony, after 
use. A lovely peacock feather serves for brushing up 
any particles that might fall from the charcoal basket. 
Two lacquer bowls, one black, the other black and gray, 
are used for serving the tea. The tea is brewed from a 
powdered form having a light green color. It is essential 
that it shall have been ground by a maiden of about 
fourteen years, who uses a couple of stones for the grind- 
ing. It is argued that a lassie of these years is pretty apt 
to dream a lot while at her work, and slow, gradual 
grinding is to be preferred, as it insures retaining the es- 
sence or flavor, as compared to having this performed 
by the stronger hands of a boy or man. A bamboo dip- 
per is placed into the boiling water and the latter poured 
into the lacquer bowls referred to, for testing the same. 
Two tiny spoonfuls of tea are next placed in a bowl and 
boiling water poured on. This is then whipped up with 
a dainty bamboo stick and handed to the guest next to 
the hostess. Upon drinking, the bowl is returned, re- 
filled and passed to the next guest, and so on until all 
have partaken. 



60 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

The tea served on these occasions is nothing like the 
tea we know as that beverage. It resembles a thick green 
split pea soup more than anything else I can think of, 
and has a taste not of tea in the remotest degree but 
of some green fresh vegetable, served without much 
cooking and innocent of seasoning. It was just possible 
to swallow it and that was all but this you must posi- 
tively do, and preferably with many bows and lavish 
expressions of delight, regardless of the sensations you 
may experience inwardly. Holding the lovely bowl in 
both hands on a line with your eyes, the assembled 
guests with host and hostess are at attention, all con- 
versation ceases, and as you sip you are being intently 
observed as you revel in the honor of partaking of this 
cherished ceremonial tea, particularly if it is known to 
those present that this is your first. 

We were all Dignity personified, much awed by the 
solemn ceremony that we were witnessing, when sud- 
denly Biffy leaned too far back on his cushion and 
tumbled over backwards, nearly going through the 
fragile wall and putting the whole affair out of business. 
Our soberness was changed to shouts of laughter, and 
I accused our friend of having deliberately contrived "to 
start" the party. 

We drank our tea with many bows and compliments, 
adhered to the custom of taking two puffs from the 
tiny pipe that comprises a part of the invariable smok- 
ing set that always adorns these occasions, and then 
handing the pipe to the next guest, we soon decided 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 61 

it to be time to unfold our weary bones once more, and 
again make our formal acknowledgments and be off. 

But our host and hostess begged us to repair to still 
another room for a bit of food. This was the largest 
apartment of this home. Again we made ourselves "com- 
fortable" on cushion and floor. A huge and wonderful 
lacquer tray with a covered red bowl, a covered box, 
also lacquer, and a beautiful porcelain sake bottle, oc- 
cupied the centre of the room. Soup with meat balls 
and egg cakes floating about was served first, and a 
combination of sipping from the bowl, and fishing for 
the substantial contents with chopsticks, was necessary 
to partake of this course. Curiosity prompted us to open 
the lacquer box in which we found the contents as 
easily yielding to the manipulations of amateur chop- 
stick users delicate rice cakes covered with peanut 
powder; boiled chestnuts, hard boiled eggs, quartered; 
chopped liver cakes, and a tomato. Sake, the rice-wine, 
is freely served and toasts are drank all round. This 
wine, by the way, is most palatable when hot, and in the 
present instance it was contained in a silver kettle. It 
might be mentioned here that the Emperor of Japan ob- 
serves what might be termed a semi-religious ceremony 
in regard to the distilling of sake, one of Japan's impor- 
tant Shinto temples being used for that purpose an- 
nually. In addition to this, His Majesty has two fields 
of rice grown for him, located in widely different parts 
of his empire. Should the crop fail in one, he can depend 
upon the other most likely. 



62 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

But let us return to the ceremonial tea aftermath, 
the unexpected dinner. Custom does not require that we 
shall dispose of all set before us in this case, so we soon 
taper off and cigarettes are the signal for the approach- 
ing conclusion of the feast. To our amazement, we have 
spent three hours under the hospitable roof of these 
dainty, friendly people, and now the host and hostess 
accompany us to the door where their servants have our 
foot-gear in readiness so that we can be properly shod 
to have a final glimpse of their heavenly garden. The 
new moon was just coming up over the mountain, a 
temple bell was ringing in a sleepy manner at some near- 
by Shinto shrine, and peace seemed to fill our souls. 
Our rickshaw boys brought us through a lane of red 
maples that showed against the afterglow in the western 
sky, while the pine needles all seemed to be wishing us a 
happy good night. As I close my window to sit down to 
write my day's impressions, I see far up on sacred 
Yama a flickering temple light. These little people are 
truly interesting and have many sides to know and ad- 
mire. Yes, they are surely getting into my heart, for I 
an beginning to understand them more. They are so 
simple and child-like. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 63 



CHAPTER XV 

TODAY we are to have a further glimpse of typical 
native life, as we have accepted an invitation to 
visit the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hirai. Mr. H. is the lo- 
cal (Kyoto) street car magnate. We are glad of the op- 
portunity of having tea there, for this home and its 
grounds are deemed a fine specimen of Japanese art in 
those things. Madame Hirai greeted us, regretting that 
her husband was suddenly called away, but expecting 
to join us later. So Madame H. did the honors beauti- 
fully, informing us through our interpreter, that we 
were the first foreign ladies that had ever been in her 
home. You can imagine the excitement we caused, par- 
ticularly among the maids and other servants. They 
made no effort, seemingly, to conceal their amusement, 
especially when we went through the formality of sitting 
down, or trying to, with our legs and feet awkwardly 
projecting, for it is quite impossible to easily acquire 
the faculty of sitting on one's heels, as they do. Thought- 
fully, our charming hostess had chairs for us, looking 
woefully out of place in those diminutive apartments. 
Also she had provided both tea and coffee, a la European 
or American. These and likewise the chairs we declined 
with many thanks, for we truly like their native customs 
and enjoy making the effort to conform to them. It was 



64 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

most considerate and thoughtful of our hostess to have 
wished to have put us at ease, but none-the-less I think 
she was pleased to have us express a preference for her 
things Japanese. 

The house is of course lovely, but not to our way of 
thinking, at least, what you call homelike. Each room 
is measured according to the number of standard size 
mats it contains, three, four, five, etc. A ceremonial tea 
room, for example, must contain a certain number of 
mats, so that the floor length and width, and the ceil- 
ing height will give a cube measurement divisible by the 
mystic multiple of nine. For instance, a room six feet 
square and six feet high gives a cubical content of 216 
feet which, divided by nine, gives twenty-four times. 

The room in which we were received was a six mat 
room, conspicuously unadorned, except for the kako- 
mona hanging in the niche, below which stood a small 
table with three inch legs, holding an incense burner, to 
which should be added a bamboo vase with pine branch 
and palm leaves this latter in our honor, signifying 
welcome, longevity and prosperity, in the language of 
their flowers. All doors and windows are of sliding type, 
made up of three inch square panels. The ceilings are of 
plaited reeds, beautifully designed. The tea cups, con- 
sisting of lovely white porcelain, rested on silver boat 
shaped saucers. Cakes were served to be eaten with the 
use of sharpened point sticks. The tea was exceedingly 
weak, and to our minds, tasteless. 

In our stocking feet we walked through the many 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 65 

rooms, admiring the screens and decorated floors, the 
work of artists. Our five cushions were the only articles 
of furniture in the room where we had tea, and one is 
struck with the immaculate neatness and cleanliness of 
it all but who could not be neat and clean in the home 
that contained neither coal scuttle, sewing machine, vic- 
trola and other contraptions so essential to our Western 
civilization ? 

We felt more at home in the garden which was truly 
wonderful, with its cascades, its pretty ponds alive with 
goldfish, its winding paths, containing several tea 
houses encountered at the most unexpected places, and 
the general picturesque arrangement; all suggesting ar- 
tistic skill in utilizing space and helping nature; for it 
must be remembered we were in the heart of a big city, 
although it was difficult to realize that fact, as we wan- 
dered along the pretty paths, or watched the sun play- 
ing upon the waters, or admired the shadows as they 
fell upon the adjacent mountains. 

Our tea party in the Hirai home and lovely garden is 
over, and as Madame H. accompanies us to our waiting 
rickshaws, parked in the narrow lane-like street just 
outside the walled garden, our path leads along a wind- 
ing picturesque walk that crosses tiny lacquer bridges 
over clear swift-running streams, in which fat and over- 
fed goldfish lazily swim along, so pompous and lordly 
in their assurance and dignity, causing the finny young- 
sters to scurry as the former give a violent flap of his 
tail as he approaches. Characteristic of Japan, age is 



66 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

respected in all walks of human life, so why not in 
animal life hence the deference shown by baby gold- 
fish for his more patriarchal member of the specie. 

As we reached the carved moon gate, appropriately 
placed in the huge wall, Madame H. placed her tiny 
hands upon her knees, and with bowed head and a 
graceful bend of her diminutive back, wished us goodby 
and a long life of happiness. 

Soon we were in a maze of narrow, twisting and 
crowded streets, with shouting rickshaw boys con- 
tinually having what appeared to us as barely averted 
escapes from collision with other vehicles on the one 
hand, or from effecting precipitous entrances into the 
tiny stalls or bazaars on the other never ending shops 
containing varied articles from huge bronzes to wooden 
tooth picks, all displayed so prospective purchasers can 
be properly tempted. Red cheeked fat urchins, from 
babyhood up, were looking on with solid, broad nerve- 
less faces, their tiny, wonderfully formed hands being 
far more expressive than their faces. Remarking upon 
the shapeliness of the hands of the average native, I 
once heard a Japanese gentleman say: "And why not 
beautiful? Are they not taught from childhood to handle 
chopsticks? On second thought, I pictured my own 
clumsy efforts with these fiendish implements, a bit of 
rice poised half way between the bowl and my mouth, 
only to have it fall back again with a splashing thud, 
my chopsticks meanwhile having assumed every angle 
but the proper one, in my untrained, awkward fingers. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 67 



CHAPTER XVI 

ONE evening our stay in Kyoto included attendance 
at a dinner to be accompanied by music and danc- 
ing by geisha girls, and arranged for us at one of Japan's 
nicest tea houses. Our courier suggested my wearing as 
many jewels as possible, as the geisha girls are im- 
pressed and amused by a lavish display of finery of that 
character. Accordingly eight geisha girls awaited us when 
we were shown into our tea-house dining-room, again 
with shoeless feet and condemned once more to sit upon 
cushions for a number of hours at a stretch and with- 
out a stretch. The most talented songbird in Japan was 
on hand to entertain us. But oh dear! after sitting 
cross-legged for two to three hours hearing this fine 
singer sing (?) you begin to wonder if the construction 
of music in the Eastern and Western minds can ever be 
made to harmonize. The question arises, which system 
deserves the name of music? I tried so hard to get the 
rhythm but failed, as no two bars seemingly count the 
same. This artiste certainly possessed a remarkable 
variety of grunts and squeaks, with halftones in gurgles 
and gargles combined, while she could with facility drop 
from a high pitch to a low one, and come to a sudden, 
abrupt end that proved startling in the extreme. I was a 
perfect lady through it all until Mrs. Biffy leaned over to 



68 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

whisper: "Do you think she is going to be seasick in 
this little room?" which nearly proved my undoing. I sup- 
pressed my laughter as well as I could, but the tears in- 
sisted upon rolling down my cheeks, my only hope now 
being that the song happened to be a sad one, and my 
emotions therefore perfectly proper. 

The geisha dances were lovely and more understand- 
able. We particularly enjoyed those rendered by three 
little eleven year old girls, having thin, white-chalked 
faces, cherry painted lips, who seemed anything but 
childlike, as you would expect of little lassies of 
this tender age. It is all part of the game, and to 
come to Japan and not see a Geisha dance is simply 
unthinkable. 

Before leaving, R. and I danced a one-step for them 
in our stocking feet and later R. tried dancing with one 
of the little geishas which caused much merriment to her 
sister geishas and the other onlookers. Whilst the per- 
formance was going on our dinner was being served to 
us on the floor, as a matter of course and custom. We 
started with tea and finished with tea and rice with 
numerous courses of soup, fish, meat, etc. We had three 
kinds of soup, I recall, and before we reached the final 
course, we had become quite expert with our chop- 
sticks. 

R. and Biffy after a few hours of cramped position 
were forced to rise and re-seat themselves on the arm 
rests, to the amusement of the geishas and tea-house at- 
tendants. Frances and I had better Japanese manners, 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 69 

notwithstanding our feeling like veritable mummies just 
recently unearthed ossified from the waist down. We 
had faithfully sat flat upon the floor during those hours 
of the evening's entertainment. 



70 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XVII 

r I ^HE next morning found us off bright and early, 
_L bound for a trip down the Rapids. On our way out 
of Kyoto, however, we motored to the Katsura or Sum- 
mer Palace, which contains what is deemed the best and 
finest of Japanese gardens. We found it most attractive 
and deserving of a visit. 

Later, embarking in a big river row-boat, propelled 
by three men, we experienced a charming two hour run 
down the river, frequently shooting the rapids and giv- 
ing us that peculiar thrill that comes with the facing of 
supposed danger, and which is all the pleasanter when 
you know that it is a perfectly safe thing to do, as others 
before you have accomplished it with success hundreds 
of times. The water was low, the mountains high, the 
foliage a brilliant red, the sky was blue, and our little 
party was indeed glad to be alive and among such pic- 
turesque and highly pleasant surroundings. 

In due course we reached Arashiyama, and a tiny tea 
house perched up on a high bluff overlooking the river 
that we had so skillfully navigated. Our prepared tiffin 
was soon served, and rarely have we had a more de- 
lightful experience. Picture-like, our little house com- 
manded a magnificent view, peeping out of a clump of 
trees and looking out upon the opposite high river bank 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 77 

with its red and yellow maples, while below we could 
watch the river with its many wonderful reflections and 
colors. It suggested a bit of the stage. 

On our return to Kyoto again by motor we 
stopped in a bamboo forest to look at a home the BifFys 
think of leasing in order to kill time while awaiting the 
cherry blossom season. 

Nara is only an hour's ride from Kyoto by rail, so 
one day we betook ourselves there. Here is the temple 
containing Japan's largest Buddha, a wonderful thing 
in bronze. The sacred horse is also to be found here (as 
is the case in other elaborate Buddhist temple com- 
munities). In this case the object of worship is a dear 
little white horse with light blue eyes. As soon as you 
approach, he gives an appealing neigh, and at the same 
moment a priest offers you a bowl of grain for which 
you pay him a small gratuity and then feed the grain 
to the pony, thus helping his body, feeding your own 
soul and maintaining the priest. 

We did a few other interesting things in peaceful Nara 
and then again took a train, this time for Yamada, six 
hours away. Our arrival at this little town of Yamada 
took place in darkness, relieved by the elaborate illumi- 
nation just outside the railway station of hundreds of 
Japanese lanterns, held by the hotel porters represent- 
ing the countless inns and hotels that provide accommo- 
dations for the thousands of pilgrims who find their way 
to this Mecca of Japan. I was informed that not less 
than two million people pass in and out of this station 



-j2 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

every year, visitors to the shrine of Kotai Jungu, the 
most sacred temple in all Japan. 

A bright moon was visible as we got into our rick- 
shaws amidst the clamorous jabbering of dozens of rick- 
shaw men, all competing for our trade, and confusing 
their prospective customers with their violent gestures 
and innocent noise, in their endeavors to call attention 
to the superiority of their particular conveyance. 
In spite of the din and disputing we finally got under 
way, and our little procession was speedily conveyed 
down the tiny thoroughfares lined with brightly lighted, 
attractive looking native inns. We were the only for- 
eigners visible. After a twenty minutes brisk ride from 
the station, we reached the top of a short but steep hill, 
and landed in the doorway of the Hotel Gonikai, a 
typical and truly native inn. Off came our shoes before 
entering, and soon we squealed with delight upon seeing 
the adorable room we were to occupy a six mat apart- 
ment, paper walls and sliding paper doors. The ever 
present kakomona, an incense burner, a small table 
with legs four inches high, a writing set (to my surprise 
and delight equipped with a brush and not a pen), two 
cushions, two arm rests, a charcoal brazier and a screen 
comprised the furniture. Pushing the sliding windows 
open, we looked out upon the moonlit night, and had a 
glimpse of the shimmering sea beyond. The stars seemed 
unusually bright in this holy spot. Who can guess what 
my dreams will be, for now I am to retire on the com- 
fortable looking, cleanly spread futora which the 



NEW YORK TO PEKING jj 

"chamber-maid boy" has just placed on the matted 
floor, giving me a makura (wooden pillow) on which to 
rest my weary head, and a padded kake-futon to keep me 
warm. How I wish you could see me this minute, sitting 
up Japanese fashion with my diary on my knees writing, 
while occupying a real Japanese bed or "futora." 

I am keenly looking forward to my first glimpse of the 
Imperial shrine tomorrow. 



14 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XVIII 

I HAVE had my first visit to a Mecca and have seen 
the sacred shrine of Kotai Jungu, the first of all the 
Shinto shrines, the original of which was built on this 
site in the year 660 B. C. Every twenty years, since that 
date, the shrine is rebuilt within the same large wooded 
inclosures covering a vast number of acres, but on a dif- 
ferent plot of ground, the old shrine being dismantled 
completely and the ground resting for a twenty year 
period, in that way acquiring purification. The timber 
from which the temples are built must come from trees 
grown in this wooded inclosure, where an atmosphere of 
peace and holiness has surrounded said trees from their 
nursery days. The timber from the dismantled struc- 
ture, as well as other building material, is sent to other 
parts of the Empire to be used for the building of other 
shrines. 

It is compulsory upon the Emperor to make a pil- 
grimage to this temple or shrine once a year, which he 
does in great state, accompanied by a large and elabor- 
ate suite. Two days are consumed in going to the shrine, 
two days are spent in prayer at the shrine, and two days 
more are required for the return journey. Emperor 
Jimmu, the first of Japan's Emperors, worshipped here 
and every one of his successors have done likewise. Its 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 75 

priests are the highest of the order of Shinto priests, and 
they live constantly within the temple compound, 
never being seen outside. The Emperor is required to 
subject himself to a process of purification by remaining 
several hours and alone in a square enclosure having 
white stone floor, washing his hands and mouth with 
the water of the river that flows alongside, confining 
himself to eating certain foods all before making his 
entry into the shrine. Even then he cannot penetrate the 
holy of holies in the temple that is a privilege reserved 
unto the High Priest alone. When the twenty year anni- 
versary date occurs for the transfer of the place of wor- 
ship, the sacred emblem is moved at the dead of night, 
by the hands of the High Priest, and when this has been 
accomplished the new temple is officially opened. This 
is usually done at a cost of one million yen. It requires 
the constant services of ninety-five uniformed guards to 
police and protect this wonderful shrine. To give one an 
idea of the comparative standing in the Shinto world as 
to this temple at Yamada, it might be stated that where 
this shrine is placed at No. I, the temple at Nikko, so 
well known to the travellers in Japan, would stand at 
No. 225. 

It was at this Yamada temple that Viscount Mori 
pushed the curtain aside with his cane to peer into the 
shrine, and the following year, while attending some 
court ceremony at Tokyo, he was stabbed and killed 
instantly. It appears that a son of a Shinto priest had 
witnessed the mark of disrespect of which the Viscount 



j6 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

had been guilty, and he there and then vowed he would 
take his life in consequence. 

The railway cars carrying these pilgrims to and from 
their Mecca are interesting and curious, viewed from 
our American or European standpoint. As stated, they 
come in thousands and the month of January sees nearly 
90% of the total that comes annually. The train bearing 
us to our destination was filled with them, and we were 
the only foreigners. With their feet tucked up under 
them they squat on the low, flat, very wide seats, in the 
case of the men, mostly engaged in reading their periodi- 
cals that look like wall paper designs, the women either 
serving tea or other refreshments, or reclining their 
wonderfully coiffed heads upon the hard cushioned head 
rests, apparently enjoying a nap. The hair of these 
ladies is dressed every three or four days, and this con- 
trivance, which fits neatly into the neck, prevents dis- 
arrangement of the head-dress. 

But to revert to the temple grounds again. How am 
I going to make clear to you the fascination of this spot 
and the compound enclosing it? The trees are all giants 
of the forest six men with extended arms could scarcely 
encircle them. Walls erected 300-400 B. C. are still 
standing and in fine condition. 

The cock is an emblem of the Sun Goddess and an ob- 
ject of worship. The legend is that one of the early Em- 
perors, wishing to have the Sun Goddess revered, had a 
large drum made to be struck at sunrise, placing the 
drum in the temple compound where roamed poultry 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 77 

and other animal kind at will. A cock, fleeing from pur- 
suing children and dogs, sought refuge on the drum, re- 
maining there in safety throughout the day and suc- 
ceeding night. At sunrise, still perched upon the drum, 
he crowed lustily, thus honoring the Sun Goddess and 
establishing the legend that is depicted in Japanese 
prints, paintings, etc. You see it on their kakomonas, 
on their porcelains and on woven materials. The present 
temple grounds are picturesque as well as lively with the 
large number of lovely white cocks, some bearing tails 
from a foot to three feet in length. The greetings to 
the Sun Goddess each sunrise are indeed voluminous 
and complimentary. 



CHAPTER XIX 

WE are back in beloved Kyoto and this has been 
a day for "trinketing," as R. terms our shopping 
pastime, conducted in the native quarters of these 
quaint places. My fancy dress costume was the cause, 
for I am to be the proud possessor of a lovely geisha cos- 
tume, available for future fancy dress parties. Please do 
not imagine that the purchase of a complete costume or 
outfit is an easy thing to accomplish. First we went to 
the famous pawnbroker, Matsubaia, quite a formidable 
establishment, where geisha girls and ladies of high sta- 
tion dispose of their garments, mostly worn but two or 
three times, sometimes only on a single occasion. These 
fastidious women-folk spend fortunes on kimonos and 
obis, particularly the ladies-in-waiting to the Empress 
and others presented at court, who simply cannot wear 
the same clothes for an Imperial function more than 
twice. The geisha girls are the spenders in the woman 
world, and must of necessity own an extensive, cer- 
tainly a varied wardrobe. Unlike almost all other women 
in the world, the Japanese wear no ornaments nor 
jewelry (except in their hair) no pearls and diamonds 
hence they make up for it in other ways. The obi, a 
sash measuring twenty-four inches in width and twelve 
feet in length, can cost sums well up in the thousands of 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 79 

dollars, (not yen) as for instance, those woven with gold 
thread and weighing sometimes as much as 25 Ibs. The 
weaving of these fabrics for these high-grade obis is 
obviously a work of the greatest art, one that is, I fear, 
disappearing with the advance of commercialism. The 
kimonos are beautifully and artistically embroidered, 
two or three of the same material but of different color 
being worn at a time, one on top of the other; so that 
when the wearer walks or dances, a bit of color peeps 
out about her feet and arms. 

From a very tempting lot put before me, I finally 
selected a kimono of dull blue, with court sleeves. A 
lovely pattern of soft roses in dull pinks and yellow is 
woven into it, golden butterflies profusely appearing all 
over the garment in a dull gold thread. The lining is of 
red satin, the color of red lacquer one sees in the temple 
shrines. This is a bit of camouflage, giving the appear- 
ance of wearing two or three kimonos when, as a mat- 
ter of fact, I have but one. Incidentally, my garment 
must have been made for a corpulent geisha girl! 

The undergarment, which is not an undergarment to 
our way of thinking, is a red lacquer crepe of heavily 
woven, gold thread pattern. This is draped so as to show 
the hands and feet in the most adorable way. And as for 
the obi I feel I should like to spell it in capital letters 
it is of gold thread, woven into a pattern with dull pinks 
and blues. Of course when you put this around a good 
generous American figure, your first impulse is to say 
"No can do," but with perseverance it is surprising how, 



So NEW YORK TO PEKING 

after all, when dressed in native Japanese garb, we look 
like the rest of them, only taller than the average. 

In the show room at the pawnbroker's, the floor was 
littered high with armful after armful of the rich fabrics 
offered for our inspection, relieved by glimpses into the 
pretty garden which is an essential adjunct to every 
home, every high-class business house, and in striking 
contrast to the narrow, winding street on which the 
home or shop may be situated. 

Finishing our mission at the pawnbroker's and don- 
ning our shoes, we were ceremoniously bowed to the 
door and into our rickshaws to acquire the rest of the 
costume. First came the white satin or silk stockings, 
extending only to the ankle, having the big toe provided 
for, so that the strap of the sandal can slip between it 
and the rest of the foot. It was found necessary to pro- 
vide for making to order, as a scarcity in ready-mades 
happened to prevail at the time. I am to have them in a 
month's time. The clogs or foot gear came next, con- 
sisting of a pair of black lacquered wood soles, fitted 
with silken cords of purple and black. The buying of the 
hair ornaments took some time, for there are many to 
choose from, all lovely beyond description tiny flowers, 
gold balls, coral pins, combs and ever so many other 
things. Excepting the kimonos and obi, all purchases of 
the miscellaneous articles were made at bazaar shops 
that occupy quite as much outside as inside space; in 
other words, one practically transacts business in the 
street, which is none too wide as a rule. Needless to say 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 8r 

I attracted an enormous amount of attention on the 
part of the passing native population, most of whom 
halted to be amused by the spectacle of a foreigner ac- 
quiring their native wearing apparel. They must have 
thought things were reversing themselves, in contem- 
plating their own constantly growing tendency to dis- 
card their native dress for that of the European or 
American. Frances deeply regretted that the evening 
light did not lend itself to a kodak snapshot of that gap- 
ing, motley crowd that watched me being measured for 
my stockings men, women, children, babies and dogs; 
it is in such striking contrast to a shopping scene on 
Fifth Avenue. These little people are always so merry, 
seeming to take the deepest interest in my beaver coat, 
occasionally stroking it, invariably rubbing up against 
it. At first I felt a little nervous at having them so near 
me, but I am entirely at ease now in having a crowd 
about me, as they are universally good-natured and 
kind. 



82 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XX 

TOMORROW we are off for Korea, or I should say 
Chosen, as long as I am in the Japanese Empire, 
for the Japanese are rather insistent that their new de- 
pendency should quickly change its name as they hope 
to improve and develop the country's resources, cus- 
toms and culture. With many regrets we are leaving this 
part of Japan, having enjoyed our second visit even 
more than our initial one. We owe much to a most pro- 
ficient courier, Mr. A. Akiyama (attached in his capac- 
ity as courier to the U. S. A. Embassy at Tokyo) whose 
unfailing courtesy and rare intelligence went a long way 
to helping us see and appreciate things under the most 
favorable circumstances. 

So with heavy hearts we are pulling up from Kyoto, 
the truly Japanese city of Japan. The maples are still 
red and golden on the hillsides, while the temples (and 
there are over one thousand here) hidden among the 
pines were like dream land, especially so at sundown, or 
as darkness was setting in, when the temple bells would 
sound out on the night air. Looking up toward the sacred 
mountain we believed a light to be visible, only to ob- 
serve that it was none other than Venus rising and shin- 
ing out against the dark mountain top, with always the 
comfortable feeling that some temple priest was keep- 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 83 

ing watch while we dreamed of another day full of new 
sights and joys, of old shrines with steps worn by the 
feet of pilgrims climbing to the holy of holies with their 
offerings of rice, money and paper prayers. 

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, so consequently 
is filled with history, romantic as it is interesting. And 
as for "trinketing," it is without doubt the most won- 
derful place imaginable. In gratifying our shopping ap- 
petite our modest letter of credit looks like a country 
school petition, so marked up is it by the evidences of 
our frequent trips to the bank, and the resulting drafts 
upon our exchequer. 

It may be just as well that we are leaving Kyoto and 
its tempting shops, otherwise the head of the family 
would have to return to the U. S. A. and the proverbial 
grindstone to which to apply his nose, to make up for 
the deficits caused by our debauch in priest robes, 
temple sets, old Buddhas centuries old temple 
lamps and screens, etc., etc. 

A few hours by train brings us to the commercial and 
port city of Kobe, where we are to spend the night at the 
Tor Hotel. The Japanese shrine gate, with which we are 
all familiar, is known as torii. Kobe being also the "Gate 
City," the hotel people deemed it an appropriate name. 
It was then known as the Torii Hotel. This was years 
before the great war. In due time, an enterprising Teu- 
tonic hotel man acquired it, and changed the spelling to 
"Thor," retaining the meaning of gate in German. 
When Japan declared war upon Germany and interned 



84 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

its citizens, the Teutonic name of the hotel was not con- 
sidered a good asset, so its spelling was changed again 
and it is plain Tor now. In spite of its vicissitudes of 
name it is prettily situated on a side hill, but no at- 
tempts have been made, or if made they are not realized, 
to make it attractive or comfortable. Kobe has little to 
recommend it to the tourist. Tan San water, the Poland, 
Apollinaris and Waukesha product of Japan, comes 
from here. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 85 



CHAPTER XXI 

WE were called in the morning at six, the Biffys 
"saving our lives" by sending to our room a 
thermos of steaming hot coffee, to tide us over until 
breakfast on the train. Far be it from us to have relied 
upon our hotel to furnish an early repast, for the maxim 
that you cannot hustle the East is proved time and again 
to all of us who attempt so large an order. 

It is a long twelve hour train trip from Kobe to 
Shimonosecki, so we settled ourselves as best we could 
for the day, armed with books, papers, and a desire to 
peep at the scenery from time to time. 

As we slip along the shore of the Inland Sea, along 
which our rail route takes us, we are absorbed by the 
variety of scenes the picture constantly takes on. We 
pass through fishing villages, with their countless tiny 
boats bobbing up and down upon the surface of the 
water, like children's toy craft in a park pond. You 
seem to know each boat has its devoted master, and 
that he showers loving care upon his ropes, sails and 
nets. What stories they could tell of hardship and dan- 
ger if only they could speak. Fluffy clouds are faithfully 
mirrored in the sea below. We now catch a glimpse of 
the sacred island Miyajima with its great red Shinto 
gate standing far into the sea, remindful of every picture 



86 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

you have ever seen of Japan. The red maples are still 
visible on the hillside, and now orange trees in full bear- 
ing and great profusion add to the pretty picture that 
enthralls us. Before we realize it, the sun is setting over 
the hills, and long shadows reflect on the many islands 
that seem to float upon this lovely stretch of water, 
bathing them in a purple haze, reflecting the islands and 
producing a fascinating mirage of themselves in a sea 
of blue. A big moon comes up to replace the glorious sun 
and we see another beauty, a purer, whiter, kindler 
light, that bathes the scene in silver. The tiny lights of 
the village shine out; the smoke from each hut goes 
straight up into the night, like an offering of thanks for 
this perfect day. It all seems like a dream picture. 

On going forward to the dining car for the last meal 
of the day, we were at once satisfying any pangs of hun- 
ger that might have been present, as well as to dispose of 
an hour or more in the warm, cheerful diner. Night had 
come on as we pressed our faces against the moist, 
steam-covered panes of glass, making little clear spots 
on the glass with our pocket handkerchiefs and noses, 
while catching fleeting glimpses of the railway stations 
and straggling villages, as we dashed through on our 
way to the coast. After a good dinner we started back 
to our car, a considerable distance toward the end of the 
long train, picking and choosing our course through 
aisles and corridors of the many cars, all of them more 
than comfortably rilled with natives none too careful in 
the use of the generous, everpresent "co-operative" 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 87 

cuspidor, placed in the aisle center of each car. A clean, 
cool breeze came from an open vestibule door, and no- 
ticing that our train had stopped alongside a railway 
station platform, the temptation was irresistible to 
abandon our attempts to keep clear and clean of the 
cuspidor dangers of the car aisles, so we stepped out 
upon the platform, under the bright stars of heaven, to 
make a run for our own car, thus avoiding all the inter- 
vening ones. To our horror, however, the train began 
to move quietly and smoothly, leaving us hatless and 
coatless on a lonely station platform in a strange land, 
having a strange language. We made a return dart for 
the vestibule door from which we had emerged, only to 
find it closed, locked. By this time three of us, compris- 
ing the "given up for lost" party, made a frantic attack 
on the car windows, which finally brought the guard of 
the last car of the train to our aid, who lost no time in 
opening the door and in assisting us to regain the train. 
Breathless and trembling with the thrill of excitement, 
you may be sure we were oh so glad to get back with 
people and light again, for we had lived days in those 
few instants of agonized suspense out there in the cold 
under the lonely stars. 

Shortly after this incident an hour or two we 
reached the end of our day's rail journey, Shimonosecki, 
where a fair sized steamer awaited its passengers for the 
night trip across to Fusan, where we are to take a train 
again for ancient Seoul. If Korea or I should say 
Chosen is as good to us as Japan has been, we shall be 



88 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

more than satisfied. But then we must not expect too 
much, as this is winter, and the stories told us by our 
Japanese friends prepare us for discomforts galore, mak- 
ing us sometimes wonder if we are not foolish to leave 
Japan, with its merry, good-natured people, its attrac- 
tive tea gardens, its tiny houses and clean streets, its 
little people with big babies strapped to their backs, and 
everything done for us to make us comfortable and 
happy. But we are Americans with 2Oth Century un- 
rest in our hearts, and we must be off and on our way, 
if only to eventually return home in time to start out all 
over again to penetrate other parts of the world. In fact 
our mental traveling has become as popular as it is cer- 
tainly expensive, especially in the evening over our 
after-dinner coffee cups and cigarettes, before an open 
fire. We have been known to go to India, Kashmir, 
Cambodia, Siam and the South Seas in a single evening, 
and be quite ready the next evening for Alaska, France 
and Norway. But without imagination, life would be 
dull indeed, and our little party of four pals seem to 
possess an over-dose of this quality, our fairy god- 
mothers certainly having effectually touched us with 
her wand, and at the same time spilled the contents of her 
sack containing imagination all over us, when bestow- 
ing upon us her good wishes for those desirable qualities 
essential to the making of a human soul, with its joys 
and sorrows, good and bad instincts. 

But I am digressing, for meanwhile we have spent a 
night on the sea a rough crossing with the Shigura 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 89 

Maru reminding one at times of the English Channel 
and its corkscrew twist. When I therefore sat up in my 
berth early in the morning, to sew clean collars and 
cuffs on my blouse, it almost resulted in my undoing. 
Consequently I had to postpone my breakfast hour and 
be very good and quiet, as otherwise I should have 
spoiled my good record it had been in great danger 
for at one time our good ship was dancing about on the 
top of a wave, only to take a header into a hold from 
which it seemed ages to make up its mind to get back, 
to repeat the disagreeable operation once again. We 
finally landed at Fusan on schedule time, and while our 
ship was being docked, I went in search of a cup of 
coffee, only to find the breakfast room closed. A smiling 
ship's officer, however, recognizing my hungry look, 
ordered a boy to bring me coffee which I thoroughly en- 
joyed, standing in the companion-way, with howling 
coolies snatching up bags and trunks all about me, just 
missing my precious cup, which I drained to the last 
drop. 



go NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXII 

\ LTHOUGH still on Japanese soil (Korea or 
JT\ Chosen) it seemed to be necessary to exhibit our 
passports, but that formality was soon attended to, and 
then we sought comfortable seats for an all day ride in 
the train. Again we are the only foreigners occupying a 
well filled train, the others being Japanese. A large 
family of children with their nurses, together with the 
parents, monopolize most of the car. The husband and 
father, it would seem, must be a personage of import- 
ance for at numerous big stations he is met by large 
delegations of men and women, who bow low and many 
times to which he must respond in kind, also many 
times and lengthy speeches on both sides, with more 
bowing, characterize each occasion. The women folk 
keep up a mumble of words and giggles, sounding very 
much like a flock of hens in a barnyard cackling over 
their food. 

Our first impressions, as we glance out of the car win- 
dows, fill us with delight, for the country stretches 
beautifully on each side of a tortuous, interesting river, 
which we cross and re-cross, as we make our way 
through a narrow, more often a wide valley, skirted 
with hills of varying size and shape. The river is alive 
with craft, an odd sight being the cargo boats drawn by 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 91 

man power, the tow rope attached to the top of a high 
mast. On every side we see the Korean, both sexes, in 
native dress of white linen, looking much like the Ku 
Klux Klan, the men with their partly shaved heads and 
much treasured top-knots, wearing stovepipe hats, 
seemingly ridiculously small in size, held on their heads 
by means of horse hair frames of cage-like effect, the 
latter surmounting the top-knot. Perched on this frame 
is the shiny hatlet referred to, the combination head- 
gear resembling for all the world a two storied pagoda. 

Never have I seen such walkers. They swing along 
the highways, erect, with long strides, their arms folded 
and hands tucked in the sleeves, generally single file, 
like animated mile posts. Look where you may, far 
from town or city, you will see these white-clad figures, 
remindful of marble tomb stones, on the roads, in the 
fields, in the hills and on the mountains, standing out 
against the skyline, until you are certain that all Korea 
is out of doors. 

The Korean's white clothing calls for an ever-ending 
job of laundry work from his wife who, in addition to 
being washerwoman, the mother of a huge family, 
grinds his meal, fills his long tobacco pipe, performs all 
menial work, and acts for the human go-cart for the 
baby if a young brother or sister, of six to eight years, 
is not available to have the burden wished on their 
back. 

The villages are comprised of huts made of mud, 
roofed with ricestraw. These roofs are renewed every 



92 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

year after the rice is harvested, but the old roof is never 
removed, the new one being placed over it; and so many 
of the old huts resemble a big mushroom, so heavy is the 
overhanging roof of a period of years, compared to the 
slender walls that may be likened to the stem. Children 
play about doorways that are doorless, mingling with 
the poultry, the kiddies wearing pantaloons tightly 
drawn around the ankles. Their garments are of many 
colors. A small wadded zouave jacket, mostly of red 
cotton, is worn so as to leave a gap between it and their 
trousers, where their bodies are bare. Their little brown 
bodies must be hardy and not feel the cold, for we saw 
some wearing only the jacket, reaching a little below 
the armpits. The women are, as a general thing, a sad 
looking lot I now refer to the peasant and village 
class in white grass-cloth clothes, occasionally re- 
lieved by a jacket of blue or red. An outer coat is worn 
on the head, the sleeves hanging as an ornament. The 
baby is tied on her back in a most insecure manner, the 
infant hanging far down on her hips. The mother's 
breasts are always exposed, in some cases so generously 
that the "lunch counter" is transformed into a pipe line 
that passes under her arm to the hungry passenger on 
the back seat, demanding attention at the most inop- 
portune moments. 

It is heart-rending to see children playing at hop- 
scotch in the village roadway, with a sleeping baby's 
head bobbing over their shoulders, or a waking baby's 
colic-inspired screams issuing up to heaven fortu- 



NEfT YORK TO PEKING 93 

nately it seems not to interfere with the sport of the 
game. 

It was late in the afternoon when we reached the 
high mountain passes, followed by a rapid drop in the 
thermometer. Rice paddy fields have been transformed 
into icy steps up the mountain sides. A light snow is 
falling, accompanied by a high, sharp wind, making it 
seem bleak and soulless in this faraway country of the 
Hermit Kingdom. 



94 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXIII 

SEOUL (Keijo), the capital of Korea (Chosen), was 
reached at 7 :jo P. M., a huge motor bus conveying 
us to our caravansery. After risking our lives with an 
irresponsible chauffeur who tried hard to capsize us, as 
the top-heavy vehicle (all our luggage was top-side) 
tore around corners, we were thrice glad to reach the 
Ritz Hotel of the Far East, the "Chosen Hotel." To 
find beautifully warm, clean rooms and beds, bath- 
rooms perfectly appointed, after the uncomfortable 
train service of the Japanese Government railways 
heated principally with bad air was a pleasant revela- 
tion indeed. Oh the joy of a real bed, and a tiled bath 
with plenty of hot water! So I crawled beneath the 
downy comforter with a prayer of thanks that the stork 
had dropped me down a good U. S. A. chimney, instead 
of having left me on the roof of a Korean home, where 
I should have been fated to grow to womanhood in a 
country where man has indeed an exalted and selfish 
idea of himself it shows in his very walk and every 
step. 

It is hard to realize that we are in far-off Korea, our 
guide, one Mr. Peter M. Y. Lee, awaiting our pleasure 
to start off to see the city of Seoul, which the Japanese 
have re-christened Keijo. Our rickshaws speedily took 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 95 

us to the encircling city wall, whence a fine view of the 
city and surrounding country could be obtained. The 
old palace and home of several dynasties of kings, just 
within the wall, is in a state of decay, and seems cheap 
and flimsy in its faded grandeur. 

As a matter of fact, the city street life holds greater 
interest for us than that of any of the other capitals in 
this part of the world. We could not resist stopping to 
shop for a native costume, and as the shops are com- 
pletely open toward the street, we were the objects of 
curiosity to all out-doors as we indulged in that pecul- 
iarly oriental game of bargaining, invariably being 
obliged to go through the motions of giving up all hope 
of making a trade, by clambering into our rickshaws, 
only to have the shopkeeper pursue us with the pur- 
chase wrapped up and ready for delivery at our offered 
price. 

The next morning, after an early breakfast, we 
boarded a South Manchurian railway train for Mukden. 
It was only possible to secure a four-berth sleeping com- 
partment for our quartette of two couples, but a great 
deal worse fate can befall one in these days of congested 
travel conditions. It is said that one must travel with 
friends to know their true nature. By that test we can- 
not speak too highly of the even-tempered Biffys. I 
wonder what candid verdict they can pronounce about 
us! So we slept four in a bed for that is what it prac- 
tically amounted to in that tiny Manchurian railway 
sleeping compartment. Our men had to sit up late in 



p<5 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

anticipation of crossing the China frontier, where pass- 
port and customs formalities had to be attended to in 
person. Contrary to usual practice, Korean officials 
examine passports of passengers leaving Korea, as well 
as those entering the country. So we first had a Korean 
passport examination, then a half hour later a Chinese 
passport examination, and finally a Chinese customs 
examination the latter involving the unloading of all 
baggage, large and small, its transfer on coolie backs to 
a remote station, its inspection (with particular refer- 
ence to opium smuggling) and then its return to a new 
baggage car by the same lengthy, arduous process. We 
women, having retired to our diminutive upper berths, 
were certain a riot had broken loose, only to learn that 
the handling of our luggage was causing commotion. 
One of my pet pieces of baggage is called the "man- 
eater," a week-end bag which became the object of sus- 
picion of a customs inspector. It was the only piece of 
baggage for which I possessed no key, and consequently 
I had fastened it with a stout cord and affixed seals to it, 
thus making it safe to place in the luggage van. So the 
cord and seals had to be cut, and after displaying the 
perfectly harmless contents, the inspector passed it 
without further question. So then it had to be left un- 
locked being without a key for it and our already 
over-crowded compartment was called upon to store 
this pest of a bag. "Man-eater" and its owner were not 
very popular, as you may imagine! 

At last our men returned and all hands turned in, but 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 97 

only for a few hours, as at six o'clock we were called to 
get ready for alighting at Mukden, where we were to 
change cars for the Peking train. The moon was big and 
bright as we stepped upon the bleak train platform, the 
icy morning air causing us to cough as it filled our lungs. 
It was several degrees below zero. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXIV 

MUKDEN (also spelled Moukden) is the capital of 
Manchuria, populated by 200,000 Chinese, sev- 
eral thousand Japanese, and one hundred Europeans 
and Americans. Four railway lines centre here, extending 
respectively to Seoul (where we came from) to Darien 
(Port Arthur) and to Harbin, where connection is made 
with the Trans-Siberian route, that once upon a time 
operated trains to European Asia. A fourth extends to 
Peking. 

The Yamato Hotel, conducted by the South Man- 
churian Railway Company, forms part of the station 
building. It was to this friendly looking door we dashed 
in the wee hours of the morning, the icy air proving 
trying to us, unaccustomed as we were to such tempera- 
ture. With stamping feet and between coughs, we ap- 
plied for rooms in which to tidy up during the inter- 
mission between trains, only to be informed there was 
nothing available. But in some mysterious way we, 
nevertheless, were assigned to a huge apartment, a 
combination banquet hall, drawing room and bath, the 
latter equipped with hot water only, the cold being 
frozen. I am trained never to inquire how these seem- 
ingly impossible things are accomplished, R. having a 
way all his own, this making traveling with him most 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 99 

comfortable. Nothing seems too much trouble if it is 
going to add in the slightest to my comfort. 

So our quartette took turns in performing our ablu- 
tions in the boiling hot water, and were ready for break- 
fast as the sun came up to cheer the frozen land. It 
really seemed to warm things up a little, for the frost 
on the window panes became a little less thick and we 
could almost see through them. After breakfast we 
started out for a brisk walk to see the city, only to learn 
that real Mukden was three miles away, the section we 
were in containing, besides the station and hotel, like- 
wise the railway shops, a good hospital and a few strag- 
gling places of business. We soon decided that the old 

O or 

city would have to remain unexplored by us, as it was 
too cold to go on any Columbus tours of discovery. 

On resuming our train journey, we realize that we 
have caught up with a personally conducted party of 
our countrymen and women, an American Express 
Company tour, consisting of eighteen persons, which is 
likely to restrict a fair distribution of the available 
luxuries and comforts en route, for Americans have a 
habit of liking the best facilities going, which include 
the best in food and drink, as well as seeing the sights 
under the most favorable conditions. We are hoping 
they will not remain long in Peking, for these oriental 
cities are not equal to the strain of our countrymen in 
too big a dose. 

The country we are running through Manchuria 
is flat and desert-like, with clouds of dust over every- 



/oo NEW YORK TO PEKING 

thing. Many soldiers are visible, being particularly in 
evidence at stations where they are lined up, dressed 
in fur lined uniforms and with fur caps, standing at at- 
tention as we approach. The Chinese government main- 
tains soldier police along the railway line, to insure the 
safety of passengers and property on the freight or 
goods trains. Bandits of a desperate kind infest these 
parts, and are likely to attack a train, carrying off every- 
thing of value. 

As far as the eye can reach a desert plain stretches 
before it, with an occasional village, looking like a dust 
heap or mound of brown earth. Nothing else to relieve 
the eye. Snow is beginning to fall, only adding to the 
bleakness and desolation. The few Manchurians to be 
seen have an ugly and forbidding appearance as they 
tramp along the alleged road, that is marked by deep 
ruts, beside the railway right of way. We encounter dust 
storms, after the snow, causing everyone to sneeze and 
cough. These storms are strange freaks of nature, be- 
ginning with a yellowish tinge that pervades the atmos- 
phere and covers the sun, followed by the precipitation 
of yellow dust in abundance, like rain. It takes days to 
free your clothes, to say nothing of getting it out of one's 
hair. 

Another night on the train and another experience of 
discomfort. Fancy taking one of our ordinary cattle 
cars, provided with partitions to separate the compart- 
ments, one large seat running crosswise, which is made 
into a lower berth at night, on top of which is also an 



NEW YORK TO PEKING tot 

upper berth. A very small window, so placed you can- 
not look out of it unless you stand up before it a wash- 
stand, generally not in working order also electric 
lights in same frame of mind, completing the equip- 
ment. Heating apparatus gives very spasmodic service, 
either being unbearably hot or so painfully absent as to 
freeze one alive. A dining car, where good food is badly 
served by slovenly, dirty Chinese waiters. But in spite 
of all these drawbacks, we would willingly face and un- 
dergo more, as we have high hopes that all will be 
worth while to see interesting Peking, with its Forbidden 
City, its wonderful age, history and art, and lastly to 
think of all the "trinketing" in store for us! 



102 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXV 

HERE we are at last in Peking. After a breakfast 
in our dining car, where we all appeared in fur 
coats, and consumed huge cups of steaming coffee to 
ke?p warm and win out over the heatless car, we arrived 
in the busy, hustling Mukden-Peking station, just out- 
side of the big wall that encloses the foreign legations. 
We walked to the Wagons-Lits Hotel, and there were 
met by a number of the American Express Company 
party with long faces, that betokened the usual "wel- 
come" one gets from the popular hotels: "No rooms to 
be had." Our hearts did sink deep down into our cold 
boots. Notwithstanding the fact that we had a wire 
from the Wagons-Lits people confirming our booking, 
we knew by experience the irresponsible ways of some 
of the Far Eastern hotels, and our misgivings were in- 
deed great as we approached the desk to inscribe our 
names, ages, home and nationality. A pleasant disap- 
pointment awaited us for four rooms, each with bath, 
had been set aside for our quartette, as a result of a 
garbled telegram, so it was with impressive generosity 
that we relinquished one half of our reservation so that 
some of the American Expressites were correspondingly 
made happy. 
To get into a clean, warm room and a bath tub that 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 103 

was in working order, was a luxury almost too good to 
be true. I spent the whole day in splashing, rinding the 
water so hard that I ordered six quarts of bottled table 
water with which to wash my hair, after having had it 
boiled by a trusty China boy. By the way, this table 
water is put up in what must have been Rhine wine 
bottles. It is non-sparkling, the label reading "Silent 
Water." It all smacks of Germanism, although I must 
say, the people of North China demonstrated that they 
were good allies of ours in having torn down the monu- 
ment originally erected by the Chinese Government, on 
the order of the ex-Kaiser, to the memory of Baron Von 
Kettler, the first foreigner to be killed in Peking pre- 
ceding the Boxer uprising in 1900. The monument 
marking the spot where the Baron was slain was quite 
elaborate in its design, and supremely humble in its in- 
scription also dictated by the ex-Kaiser but nothing 
now remains to recall the incident. 

It is bright, clear and severely cold, and although I 
begged R. to bring warm clothing, particularly his fur- 
lined overcoat, he successfully talked me out of my for 
once good judgment. Consequently most of our first 
full day in Peking has been spent in equipping him with 
warm garments, and ordering a fur-lined coat. This 
errand took us to a fur shop in the native city where a 
wonderful line of skins was displayed. Furs from Mon- 
golia, Siberia and Russia sables and ermine, foxes of 
every shade, mountain sheep and goat, also animals of 
which I had never heard. A lovely yellow and brown fur 



104 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

lining was finally selected, which proved to be baby 
camel skins, too soft and warm for words of mine to 
express, also extremely light in weight. A tailor was 
then sought and found, who agreed to have the complete 
coat ready and fit to wear within twenty-four hours 
time. He carried out his contract to the minute. 

We rickshawed to the Temple of Heaven in the morn- 
ing and to the Forbidden City in the afternoon. The 
Temple of Heaven with its marble throne is where the 
Emperor prayed to the One God, with but horizon on 
every side, the marble terrace huge in its dimensions 
with its red lacquer and marble railings being so placed 
as to give effect to the claim that he was worshipping 
in the centre of the universe. 

The more I observe of this race, the more I am im- 
pressed with its great age, great wisdom and great poise. 
They seem to have forgotten more than the rest of the 
world ever knew, if we except India as a matter of 
course. 

As we speed along the thoroughly interesting streets 
of Peking, and particularly those skirting the walled 
Tartar City, our rickshaw progress is often interrupted 
by long camel caravans on their way to Mongolia, 
Tibet and Turkestan. These animals are not their 
skinney, hairless brethren of the sunbaked countries of 
India or Egypt, being covered by luxurious brown fur 
robes of their own, one on each hump, to withstand the 
rigors of the climate of the north, and the severe 
weather encountered in the high altitudes. The Mon- 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 105 

golian camel has two humps, while his species of the 
southern counties has but one. Over each of the humps 
of the former seems to grow long brown, curly hair, very 
thick, hanging down so as almost to touch the ground, 
giving the robe-like effect. They also have knee pads 
and ankle muffs of this same long, heavy hair. With 
great strides, heads held high, they strut with a good 
natured air, truly seeming to have better nerves and 
sweeter tempers than the sand-baked beasts of burden 
I met in Egypt or India. A camel caravan in Peking is a 
very silent affair, in fact you are almost upset in your 
rickshaw, their soft bodies coming unexpectedly upon 
you without a sound of warning, in contra distinction 
to the caravans of India that one can hear for a great 
distance, drivers as well as the camels fussing and quar- 
reling with one another, and frequently extending their 
altercations to those traveling along the same road. 

Again we are halted, this time by a wedding proces- 
sion, headed by a dozen men carrying a number of huge 
golden drums and very large horns, the latter of wooden 
gilt. Then came the bride in a most elaborate chair, 
carried by six men dressed in red, wearing high head- 
gear. She was not visible, but her gaily colored, painted 
box, with red lacquer and paper panels and its gilt roof, 
was certainly imposing. Two other chairs followed the 
one bearing the bride, but these chairs were not so gay 
in color or design. One contained her mother-in-law-to- 
be and the other her own mother. This constituted her 
personal escort to accompany her to her future hus- 



io6 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

band's home where he awaited her. The procession was 
marked by gay flags and streamers of bright colors, 
borne by numerous men and boys. 

Our trip to the Winter Palace will long be remem- 
bered. We found the morning air very cold, as the sun 
had not yet come out, and a light wind was blowing. 
Our rickshaw boys kept up a dog trot, taking us over 
the ground at not less than six miles an hour, which in- 
creased the coldness as we traveled against the wind, 
especially noticeable in this icy air. 

The Winter Palace is situated in the Imperial City of 
Peking, consisting of many beautifully painted, artisti- 
cally designed pavilions approached across inland lakes 
and ponds over handsome marble bridges. It is here the 
Emperor Hsi Yuan came to enjoy life and capably rule 
his people. There are a large number of buildings, such 
as temples, rest houses, theaters, tea houses, palaces for 
concubines, etc., etc. Overshadowed by all and at the 
highest point of ground in the Imperial compound (500 
feet high, to be exact) is housed the image of the Holy 
of Holies, the great Buddha Emperor, the temple or 
shrine overlooking Peking from its lofty rock founda- 
tions. In the same temple there is said to be an image of 
the great laughing Buddha, together with some rare, 
old and sacred documents brought here many centuries 
ago from Tibet, on the occasion of the first introduction 
of the Buddhist religion into China. 

Unfortunately all these structures, which played such 
an important part in the reigning dynasties of China for 



NEW YORK TO PEKING . 707 

ages, are permitted to go to wrack and ruin very fast, 
the fees exacted for visiting them being far too inade- 
quate to maintain things as they should be kept up. 
The Government of the Republic flatly refuses to spend 
the people's money for supporting these relics of a by- 
gone age and generation. The young Emperor, a boy of 
fourteen, occupies one of the buildings as a palace, his 
mother and a corps of instructors being with him. He 
rarely is outside of his home, and then only in the palace 
grounds and at night. The President of the Republic 
makes his home just outside of the Palace grounds. It 
all seems so very sad, and I cannot help wishing that if 
some one or several of the powerful foreign nations 
could only be big and unselfish enough to disinter- 
estedly lend a guiding hand (and if China could be per- 
suaded to believe that such help is honest and disin- 
terested) in the affairs of this big giantess who finds her- 
self at present, like Gulliver, tied down by the midgets 
(in this case the Japanese) she might yet be saved, in 
fact if China could be made to realize her own strength, 
that country would soon be put upon its feet again. 
What a distinct gain to the whole world and to civiliza- 
tion the realization of this dream would be ! 

The Chinese are such a fine race of straight men, with 
eyes that have seen sights long before the rest of the 
world developed an eye with a brain back of them. 
At times I feel convinced the nation is sleeping, and the 
pendulum has swung back after having previously gone 
in the other direction, pushing ahead while we were yet 



io8 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

unborn. So while they sleep, the rest of mankind has 
awakened and is the thief in the night, stealing all the 
treasures and ideas of this sleeping giantess. What sort 
of an alarm clock will finally waken her? And when 
awake, what will she do with herself and to the world 
she will find? 



NEW YORK TO PEKING tog 



CHAPTER XXVI 

r I ^HE Wagon-Lits Hotel is nothing like any other 
-L hotel at which you have ever stayed. Our rooms 
are bright and cheery, but the office, tea room and din- 
ing room, not to mention its breakfast room, being 
miles away from the centre of things, impressed me like 
the Black Hole of Calcutta as I sped along its many 
dark and crooked passages. I am reminded of Mark 
Twain's story of Huckleberry Finn where Tom Sawyer, 
in going through a cave, carries a ball of string with him, 
having previously fastened one end of it at the entrance 
and unraveling it as he goes along. When ready to re- 
trace his steps, he simply rolls up his ball of string. 
How I wished for that string, as I invariably felt myself 
getting lost on my way to and from breakfast. In these 
dark, dismal corridors are little booths or stands, where 
native merchants display their goods, embroideries, 
jade ornaments, agates and other stones, rugs and bits 
of old ivory. Startling you, these silent creatures sud- 
denly emerge from the darkness and place a Buddha, a 
string of beads, or a fancy pair of buckles in a tempting 
manner before you, asking if given the least encourage- 
ment: "Missie, you like? What you pay?" "What is the 
price?" you ask. "Only ten dollars." "Give you one 
dollar," and if you stick to it, you will likely secure it 



no NEW YORK TO PEKING 

at your price; they do seem to enjoy bargaining as the 
purchaser seems to enjoy getting something for less than 
he was asked for it. But waste no sympathy on these 
quiet, persistent merchants who are beaten down on 
their prices, for they by no means come out at the 
wrong end of the horn. That would not be oriental trad- 
ing instinct and the merchants of Peking most cer- 
tainly have that quality developed to the highest 
degree. 

Frances has a rickshaw boy who speaks a little and 
understands much English, so she and I went shopping 
with his assistance this morning and got along beauti- 
fully, it being more of a trip to reconnoitre than to close 
bargains. Later we were joined by our husbands, and 
our expedition took us to the Chinese City through Jade 
Street and Porcelain Street. These narrow thoroughfares 
are filled with shops on both sides of the street, the 
salesroom facing the street being in part a passageway 
to other salesrooms in the rear, sometimes three and 
four of them, arranged in squares or U shaped, with a 
court or garden in the centre. 

The jade trees are especially lovely and attractive. 
At one of the old establishments I found the image of 
a fine old temple saint, "Kwan-yin" the favorite god- 
dess of expectant and would-be mothers. It is a lovely 
piece of bronze with gold leaf over it, dating back to 
1470 450 years ago the figure is draped, the robe 
having a pattern around the neck and sleeves. It has a 
high head dress, the image measuring about eleven 



NEW YORK TO PEKING iff 

inches in height. An infant figure is in her hands. It was 
to my mind a very unusual piece. 

On wending our way from Jade Street into Curio 
Street, we were stopped, fortunately as it turned out, 
to see a No. I funeral. It was headed by a Taoist priest 
with a very extensive escort, then came the gold drums 
and fife-like instruments, all attired in bright colors, the 
priest and his satellites wearing rich embroideries. 
Little girls all in white proved to be the daughters of 
the deceased, they being followed by about twenty 
ragamuffins carrying banners. These are the war spirits, 
and I don't know whether it was intentional or not, but 
the fact remains that some of these youngsters were 
fighting and scrapping with one another. Next came 
men carrying huge papier-mache figures, life-sized 
women, representing his wife and servants; two cats on 
a tray; his library chair, his mountain chair, his Peking 
cart, and finally a large supply of food. All these to be 
buried with the remains, so his soul would lack neither 
attendance nor the other necessities and comforts which 
contributed to his well being in his lifetime. Later came 
the surviving widow in her chair, all clad in white, in- 
cluding a white crepe veil concealing her face. Her 
chair, of solid white color, was borne by six men, fol- 
lowed by a score or more of Buddhist priests, all singing 
or chanting. They preceded the funeral car, which 
proved to be a most imposing affair for conveying the 
huge coffin. It was canopylike, about 20 feet in height, 
easily 18 feet long, richly decorated with red embroid- 



H2 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ery. It required 30 men to carry it with its load. 
Throughout this funeral procession uniformed attend- 
ants were throwing perforated paper discs to the winds, 
this representing money to appease the spirits and 
pave the way to heaven for the soul of the departed. 
At the end were the mourners, both men and women, 
riding in their picturesque Peking carts, all wearing 
white flowers, the sign of mourning. 

One of the carts caught my rickshaw wheel, and it 
looked for a moment as though there might be another 
funeral with me as the centre of interest, but owing to 
the shrill, frightened voice of my boy, who set up a 
howl calculated to awaken the passing dead, he man- 
aged to stop the moving festivities long enough to dis- 
entangle hubs and gear, thus setting me free and letting 
funeral and our party go their respective ways again. 

Funerals seem to be my specialty, for today was a 
wonderful one. Pye, our guide, is authority for declaring 
that the Emperor himself (were a dynasty ruling) or the 
Llama of Tibet are the only personages that would 
command a more elaborate ceremony than the one we 
witnessed in the streets today. A descendant of the 
great Confucius in a very direct line was the central 
figure, his funeral car being distinguished by a huge 
gold ball in addition to other evidences of extraordinary 
richness in trappings and furnishings. 1 80 men bore this 
enormous funeral car on their shoulders. It measured 
over 150 feet in length, was about 50 feet high and must 
have been of prodigious weight, including the coffin and 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 113 

the remains. The covering was red and purple silk, with 
ropes covered with purple silk, giving the effect of silken 
cords. No embroidered covering, as in the case of a 
Taoist or Buddhist funeral. His little son, a child of six, 
was carried in the arms of a man, the former dressed in 
white with a white crepe veil over his head on which he 
wore a cap. Following him came a cage containing a 
wonderful white cock, having a tail of extraordinary 
length. This bird will be buried alive beside its former 
master, so as to accompany him for the purpose of call- 
ing him the first morning when he finds himself in his 
heavenly home, and to perform the same function there- 
after. Next came a long line of servants, carrying papier- 
mache counterparts or images of themselves, to be in 
attendance upon their master without break or inter- 
ruption. Strange and curious indeed are these life-size 
figures, each bearing some symbol of their occupation. 
I was much amused at the combination of the old fun- 
eral usages and customs staged with modern appliances 
as, for instance, the servant figure carrying a thermos 
bottle. Another bore a high silk hat of pronounced old 
vintage, still another had a suit of foreign men's clothes, 
while yet another had his mandarin clothes, very hand- 
some, including the round cap with its cherry-red top 
knot. Then too, there were beautiful robes of yellow and 
purple, and other garments of rare taste; the books he 
doubtless loved; also his desk and its writing materials. 
Even his favorite horse, reproduced in papier-mache 
and mounted on wheels, was pushed along by his 



114 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

grooms. The Peking cart, his comfortable chair and his 
guns these were represented by the real articles like- 
wise made up the impressive procession. Buddhist 
priests in goodly numbers walked beside the funeral car, 
with low voices chanting prayers for the dead that 
sounded curiously like the Roman Catholic service, ac- 
companied by the striking of gongs and the blowing of 
deep-toned horns, huge gilded wood instruments, man- 
aged by three men. A big man completely dressed in 
white robes scattered make-believe money, little paper 
discs which his companion, another chap similarly 
robed, carried, the idea being to pay your way into 
heaven. It is said to be the best of luck to have a piece 
of this "money" land on your head, and by that token 
I am to be most fortunate, as I am the proud possessor 
of a disc from this funeral that I picked out of my hair. 
This distributor of wealth is said to make a good living, 
as he enjoys a sort of monoply of this particular job, 
officiating in the same capacity at some funeral almost 
daily. He is the champion money-thrower in Peking. 

A special train awaited the remains of this distin- 
guished descendant of Confucius so that they might, 
accompanied by his bereaved family and friends, be 
transported to that province in Manchuria where rest 
the other dead directly connected by kinship with the 
illustrious sage. The President of the Republic saw fit 
to send his special military band, an unusual mark of 
honor. We deemed ourselves particularly fortunate to 
happen along to witness all this, for not in years has 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 115 

Peking seen so elaborate a funeral in fact not in a 
decade's time, and that was the funeral of the Grand 
Llama of Tibet. 



n6 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXVII 

CONFUCIANISM is distinctly a homely philos- 
ophy, essentially belonging to the family and con- 
tributing to a substantial, clean mode of living. When 
Confucius taught his philosophy, or disseminated his 
wisdom, he took a people into his care that was so young 
in its knowledge of right and wrong that he had to teach 
them what justice and decent living consisted of. He 
taught them to be clean by washing, to cook food, to 
catch fish in nets; above all, to honor their forefathers 
and in so doing they would be less likely to do evil, 
knowing that their dead ancestors could see and grieve 
over any such misdeeds. This custom and deep-seated 
desire to worship one's parents, and in return later to be 
worshipped by one's own children, imparted a strong 
incentive to live a good life, to perform good deeds. 
Confucianism flourished for 500 years when Taoism ap- 
peared, dealing more freely with the mysteries of nature 
and employing means that are decidedly on the side of 
occultism. Every rice paddy field possesses a spirit or 
"fengshui" that brings either good or bad, and must be 
prayed to, or sacrifice offered up to it in the form of food 
and drink, or in the shape of burning incense. The wind, 
rain, sun, snows, likewise the temple, the cemetery, the 
home all have their special spirits or "fengshui" from 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 7/7 

whom special favors are asked through the medium of 
prayer. 

These spirits or deities are discernible in all their 
primitive art, and as a result of their frequent reproduc- 
tion in this way, they have become a part of the very 
life of the modern Chinese. So much so that, finding one- 
self unlucky, a prayer to the appropriate spirit is re- 
sorted to, and the needful change in one's fortune is 
awaited. A case was told me where a village had been 
afBicted with an epidemic of a disease that was fatal to 
children. One of the lads of this village was accused of 
harboring the spirit that was working such harm in the 
community, and heroic and prompt action was deter- 
mined upon. The suspected youngster's head was cut 
off" and left in the open road for hours for the purpose of 
satisfying the cravings of the bad spirit who had caused 
the illness and death of so many. They believed after so 
great a sacrifice of human blood, the bad spirit would 
leave them in peace. 

Buddhism came to China from India and Tibet, de- 
veloping a side of the Chinese not hitherto touched, as 
it taught the qualities of the individual soul and by 
knowing thyself a high spiritual development was at- 
tainable. This code of laws and beliefs is directly the 
opposite of the teachings of Confucius. The later taught 
bodily comforts, Buddha taught self-sacrifice. A Lama 
priest would go to the mountains, live on nuts and 
fruits, clothe himself in material made from grasses, and 
with his begging bowl and staff become an outcast upon 



u8 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

the face of the world. Giving up all earthly comforts, he 
would seek the soul life through hard and suffering self- 
denial, realizing the nothingness of the present life. 

Buddhism and Taoism have much in combination, 
each borrowing from or imitating one another in count- 
less features. Buddhism was not designed to supplant or 
overthrow local creeds or customs, at the most it some- 
times softened and humanized them. An instance is the 
substitution of paper images at funerals for live animals 
and human beings as objects of sacrifice. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 119 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

AS Christmas draws near my thoughts fly across the 
,/A.big wet spot, alias the Pacific Ocean, where my dear 
ones are, and two little wet spots, otherwise my eyes, 
become very troublesome. Would that I could go to 
sleep and not wake up until January 2, 1920, with the 
holidays past and gone. For I don't like being so far 
away on this homey day of all days in the year. I feel 
and know you will be thinking of us wanderers, as we 
surely will be thinking of you. 

Today we did enjoy going to tiffin at Mr. Willing 
Spencer's. He is the First Secretary of the U. S. Lega- 
tion at Peking, and it was a joy to be brought in touch 
with real home life. It helped to warm up our holiday- 
homesick hearts for at least one day. His home is a mix- 
ture of East and West, containing the comforts of an 
American household side by side with the artistic ob- 
jects gathered in the Orient. Two Chinese men servants 
in long blue silk robes with red sashes and red tasseled 
round caps ushered us into the drawing-room where our 
host and his attractive mother awaited us. A big open 
fire was crackling away on an hospitable hearth, with a 
friendly dog beating his tail upon the rug, his nose rest- 
ing on the fender. Mr. Spencer extended a welcome, 
making us feel glad we had come. A delightful tiffin 



120 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ensued, where we matched up stories of experiences in 
strange and remote corners of the globe, using our lim- 
ited resources against those of the young diplomat who 
was entertaining us, and who had held during his career 
a number of important posts in far away South America, 
as well as in the most interesting capitals of Europe and 
Asia. It proved a very interesting game. 

Our trip to the Vale of Kashmir a few years ago gave 
us a little prestige in the discussion, for we were the only 
ones present having been so favored. Naturally we 
found we had mutual friends tucked away in distant 
lands, making the promise of this new friendship all the 
stronger for the mutual love we had for them. What a 
wonderful thing love is! In all its forms, from the very 
highest to the lowest all is good and the most perfect 
thing we have on earth. I can hear some wise one say 
that love has no lowest form. I refer to a love such as I wit- 
nessed on the street of the Tartar City in Peking today: 

A baby camel was running along by the side of its 
mother, the latter tied to the camel ahead and the one 
behind it, this particular caravan having eight such 
animals, proceeding in single file all tied together, bound 
with their loads for Mongolia and the distant lands be- 
yond. The baby camel, not being tied, had strayed to 
one side of the road where a big dog barked at the heels 
of the youngster and unmistakably frightened him. 
Mother camel made a swift rush for the dog, unmindful 
of the fastenings fore and aft, which quite upset the line 
of march of these stately beasts and required some time 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 121 

and skillful handling to straighten out. Not until a rope 
muzzle had been slipped over the mother's mouth would 
a camel driver go near the enraged beast. To finally 
quiet her it was necessary to bring baby to her parent's 
side so that she could be caressed with loving little nips 
up and down that back of humps, when all was we'll and 
the interrupted march was resumed with an "all aboard 
for Mongolia," so away they went. You can call it what 
you may, high or low form of love it was Love just 
the same. 

R. and I have been "trinketing" again, and I re- 
turned with the most adorable piece of yellow brocaded 
silk for an evening coat also some fur for the collar and 
cuffs, which is nothing else than Mongolian cat. Yes, I 
mean CAT. These tabbies of the North China wilds 
have lovely sable brown pelts of great softness, much 
like the Hudson Bay sables. I paid $3.00 per skin. Had 
we tried to obtain them on Fifth Avenue, New York, 
they would have been re-christened and designated by 
some fancy, high-sounding name and a price would have 
been asked to correspond. I am so very glad these 
"kitties" are going to grace an evening coat, for I feel 
their ghosts may serve to keep me awake, I being such 
a sleepy head and cats so accustomed to being out all 
night. But I fear it will take more than $12.00 worth of 
feline atmosphere to overcome my old habit of early-to- 
bed with a good book and "comfy downy," while the 
rest of my friends are wondering where and when next 
they can go after dinner, theater or opera. 



122 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

The Biffys are making plans and trying to get a ship 
to India. From the discouraging reports given them by 
Thos. Cook & Son, you might think that everybody, 
including his wife and child, is traveling in these parts. 
No bookings available for months to come, is the infor- 
mation one gets on every hand, but of course there are 
bound to be cancellations at the eleventh hour so that 
a proper cabin can be had, the uncertainty of wondering 
how, when, and where to go, only adding to the thrill 
and increasing the interest accordingly. 

Meanwhile we are seeing sights and hugely enjoying 
old Peking with its walled cities within walls, to the ut- 
most degree. The Lama temple and its services will long 
be remembered. We took our rickshaws to the gates of 
the Tartar City and a short distance beyond, where 
stands the imposing edifice surrounded by a vast num- 
ber of buildings in which dwell thousands of Manchur- 
ians and other northern tribes, still loyal to the Budd- 
hist faith. As we draw near, a deep gong is sounding its 
low vibrant notes that seem to put the very earth under 
your feet and make you fairly tingle. It was five o'clock 
in the afternoon as we stepped through the gate leading 
into the Compound, where we saw priests and small 
boys swarming in great numbers out of the several mon- 
astery buildings that faced the square in the Compound. 
Each stroke of the gong seemed to bring fresh relays of 
priests and lads, the latter laughingly running towards 
the bell tower to secure a small piece of a numbered 
wooden check, each check bearing the name of the boy 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 123 

to whom it belongs. Those remaining uncalled for tell 
their own story of the slackers. These boys, most of 
them originally sickly children, have been presented to 
the temple by their parents as an offering to Buddha, in 
the belief that it will benefit them, the parents, to give 
a life to Buddha, reasoning doubtless that a sickly body 
would not have long to live in any case. As a matter of 
fact, the boys spend their dedicated lives in the monas- 
tery, they never marry, and money must never cross 
their hands. A life of study and prayer is theirs with the 
highest ambition of some day becoming a living Buddha, 
or a High Priest. Like the priests, they wear yellow 
robes, in many cases all in rags and tatters and dread- 
fully dirty. All heads are shaved to the point of baldness. 

We followed this cheery crowd of worshippers and 
soon found ourselves in the Temple. The priests and 
boys seated themselves on low benches with prayer- 
table in front, similar to pews in our churches, facing the 
altar or shrine. There were about fifty long rows of these 
seats. The altar was made of Cloissone with a large 
golden Buddha in the center, holding some relics of 
Buddha it is stated, a few of his bones. (Buddha must 
have been a very bony person, I fear, if all the bones I 
have seen in China, India and Burma once made up his 
earthly body!) 

The services began as the head priest donned his 
robes and high hat. An assistant priest or acolyte at 
once prepares to place some food in a lacquer box which 
is passed on to the head priest. He holds it, with lifted 



124 NEf f YORK TO PEKING 

robe, high over his head and then personally carries it 
out of the Temple where supposedly it is given to the 
poor. He thereupon returns and all present priests and 
boys are diligently chanting prayers, sounding exactly 
like the litanies in the Roman Catholic service, the 
young voices of the boys blending in well with the deeper 
tones of the men. 

The large image of Buddha carries a piece of yellow 
silk in his hand, denoting that the Grand Lama of Tibet 
had visited this Temple, in fact he died on this spot, the 
chair in which he passed on being a relic and treated 
with great reverence. Am not at all surprised at his hav- 
ing died while at services, for never have you known 
such a cold, chilling place. 

We were attracted by the many pigeons that were 
flying high above the bell tower, and as they flew a 
pretty musical sound came from their wings, It seems 
they live in the bell tower and when the mighty gong 
is struck they fly out, causing a startling effect as they 
circle in great numbers. Each pigeon has a whistle fast- 
ened to its tail feathers, the notes of the whistles being 
tuned to a chord, so as they fly and the wind passes 
through their tail feathers a sweet sound is heard, tune- 
ful and pleasing indeed. They describe huge circles over 
the Tartar City, thereby calling the faithful to their 
prayers and devotions. 

The candles, the incense burning and the chanting 
in Latin, as also the sounding of gongs makes one 
wonder if the Roman Catholic forms could have had 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 125 

their origin in copying the service from this older form 
of religion. 

Our homeward ride was marked by quiet and reflec- 
tion as we rickshawed in the dusk, and I am quite sure 
each one of us was pondering how true it was that, after 
all, there is nothing new under the sun. And more than 
that, what does it all mean? 



126 NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXIX 

OH, this city of Peking is like no other I have ever 
seen before. Great walls enclosing smaller walled 
sections, and upon entering each you find quite a differ- 
ent life and people. I was attracted by the street criers 
and the great variety of their calls. When your soul is 
startled by a fierce yell and you are certain it can only 
be murder in the first degree, you instinctively look for 
the lost one appealing for help, only to find it is the man 
selling his sweet potatoes wonderful steaming tubers, 
baked en route in some mysterious way forming the 
principal diet of our rickshaw boys. Another cry is noth- 
ing less than a scream denoting "Old clothes to sell," 
emitted by a vendor carrying two gaily lacquered boxes 
on either end of a long bamboo pole, resting horizontally 
on the man's shoulders. These boxes suggest big covered 
tubs, but with their loud colors add much to the bright- 
ness of the street scene. Then comes the barber, carrying 
a pair of iron tongs which he strikes together to an- 
nounce his arrival with his utensils on his back. When 
he secures a customer, the operation is performed on the 
sidewalk where men are shaved and otherwise barbered 
in full view of all that pass. Another strange street cry 
or signal is that of the cutlery man who sharpens knives 
and scissors, informing you of his approach by striking 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 127 

three steel hinge-like pieces together, at almost every 
step he takes, A simple little street cry is that of the 
charcoal man who strikes his tiny little drum, about the 
size of a silver dollar, with a rat-a-tat as he wends his 
way. The carpet weaver stands and screams three short 
notes of the same tone. He carries a staff with a bunch 
of wool on either end of the staff to be equipped to mend 
as well as to weave rugs and carpets. The sweetman 
invariably has a mob of children after him, making his 
presence known by striking brass cymbals. His stock 
in trade is a pack, bright colored and bedecked, com- 
prising candies and other goodies some of then resem- 
bling sugared plums on the end of a stick. We call the 
latter all-day-suckers in the U. S. A., and every child 
seems to delight in them, irrespective of race or color. 
The beef seller has a wild and weird call, that apparently 
wields an occult effect on dogs, for they certainly as- 
semble from all directions when his voice is heard. The 
fried-cake man is greatly in demand and seems to be 
frying doughnuts at all times of the day. He utters no 
call himself, as the boiling lard no doubt requires his 
undivided attention, so he employs a small boy to cry 
for him. 

Besides these types and I have not touched upon 
dozens of others one encounters there is in evidence 
the grand looking old mandarins, most of them with 
their heads high, some of them with swinging bird cages 
in hand. These men take their birds out for an airing, as 
we would exercise our dogs. Birds are valuable here, and 



ia8 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

a good one, singing well, will command $50.00 to $100.00 
which is considerably more than the cost of a good don- 
key or camel. The bird cages have neatly fitted covers 
of wadded silk to protect their feathery inmates from 
cold and drafts. Their owners, principally ex-noblemen, 
smoke a long pipe with jade bowl and mouthpiece, ap- 
pearing rather sad and dejected and manifestly "down 
on their luck." The present government does not allow 
the Emperor a sufficient annuity to maintain these 
thousands upon thousands of court favorites mostly 
Manchus or Mandarins in their former state of luxury 
and ease, consequently they are dreadfully poor. Most 
of them have never done any work, and as an indication 
of their contempt for it, permitted their finger nails to 
grow to inordinate length two and three inches. You 
cannot help but feel sorry for them, just as you are 
bound to sympathize with the Central and South China 
women with their tiny feet (lillies) although the old cus- 
tom of binding the feet of girl babies is forbidden by law 
and is gradually being abolished. So it is only the older 
women one sees stumping along on feet measuring 2^ 
to 3 inches, in some cases requiring the assistance of a 
person on each side of them to make it possible to navi- 
gate along uneven surfaces. These unfortunate grande 
dames (for this custom only applied to the supposedly 
wealthy) give the appearance of walking on stumps or 
stilts. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING i2 9 



CHAPTER XXX 

IMAGINE our delight on opening our eyes this par- 
ticular December morning to discover a world of 
loveliness. Good old Jack Frost had been extremely busy 
all night long, dressing up each tiny twig, branch, hence 
every tree, with the most marvelous laces from Mother 
Nature's attic containing an over-abundant supply. As 
we look over the Legation Quarter wall a scene greets 
us suggesting wash day in fairyland, with the dainty ap- 
parel of the inhabitants hanging out to dry. The hoar 
frost was festooned and looped in every conceivable de- 
sign, beautiful beyond words. Not a breath of air was 
stirring, presenting a dreamlike picture against the 
leaden sky of steel gray, making the frilly gardens a real 
joy to see and contemplate. We stood at our windows 
peering out speechless, and when we finally found our 
words they were hushed and breathy so deeply awed 
were we with the spirituality of it all. Even the chat- 
tering rickshaw boys, in the public rickshaw stand be- 
neath our windows, were for once quiet over their chow. 
The spirit of the scene had evidently touched them too. 
So there we stood in silence as the glorious sun came up, 
turning the gray to gold, bringing a rose warm tint that 
made us feel very commonplace and ugly. Just then we 
were reminded of our every day world by the click of 



fjo NEW YORK TO PEKING 

our China boy's shoes on the hardwood floor, bringing 
us back to the realization of our own unimportance in 
general, and to applying ourselves to a steaming hot pot 
of coffee and a bit of toast in particular. 

We had almost forgotten that this was the morning 
fixed for our going to the Summer Palace, hence this 
"chota hazri" as we say in India, in referring to an early 
breakfast. 

Our drive to the Palace is scheduled to be taken in an 
open motor car, which seems fair enough for a visit to a 
summer palace, but to hear our boy discussing the mul- 
tifarious preventatives against the cold, you would be 
certain that we are planning a dash to the North Pole, 
particularly so upon contemplating the collection of 
heavy coats, woolly rugs and other impedimenta that 
eventually adorned and surrounded us. I declare we 
looked like animated hay cocks or Christmas plum 
puddings steaming quite as much as the latter are sup- 
posed to steam for our boy had tucked a hot water 
bottle in every corner and crevice of the car, until we 
felt like fireless cookers on fire. In due time, alas! the hot 
water turned to cold, and with true repentance we re- 
called how we had contemptuously scorned the heat 
that now seemed wonderfully welcome. 

Our big Chinese chauffeur was an autocrat, if ever 
there was one, unquestionably owning the road and 
using it for his speed-mania gratification. He, too, was 
generously fitted out with top coats, which accounted 
for his blissful ignorance of the many pokes we admin- 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 131 

istered as we gave evidence of our terrified sensations 
when our lives seemed particularly in danger. To call to 
him was useless, for if he possessed ears they were not 
visible underneath the round top that supposedly en- 
circled the dome of his head. I hoped and prayed that 
the front of this bundle ahead of us had eyes to see, as 
we rushed pell mell through little towns, sending pedes- 
trians fleeing in every direction along with the dogs and 
chickens. The poor rickshaw boys were compelled to 
flatten themselves against walls and look to their vehi- 
cles as best they could, as we turned corners with violent 
suddenness and at break-neck speed. Leaving a bewild- 
ered crowd behind we finally reached the open country, 
speeding along a river bank where the willows, still 
covered with frost, were weighed down with their 
treasure. 

Luck was with us, for the Summer Palace and incom- 
parable gardens of the Dowager Empress were wonder- 
fully bedecked in white feathered frost a most inspir- 
ing sight as we stood before the magnificent red lacquer 
gates and began to dig ourselves out of our car. 

Both R. and I are tramps by nature, so we were keen 
to explore the wonders of this perfectly lovely spot 
where the Empress tried so hard to fool Father Time by 
expecting to live forever. One of her ideas for insuring 
longevity was to drink only human mother's milk, in 
consequence many a baby being deprived of its nourish- 
ment while this cross, selfish, cruel woman carried out 
her silly notion. From the looks of the garden with its 



132 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

many tea houses and elaborate kitchen arrangements, 
she must have had an enormous, insatiable appetite. 

Among a lot of other extravagances she had con- 
structed for her a huge marble ship, permanently 
moored in the middle of a lake. The story goes that she 
was a wretched sailor, and to do away with any possi- 
bilities of mal de mer, she conceived the idea of having 
this craft well planted on good foundations in the mud 
at the bottom of the lake, thus enabling her to enjoy the 
sensation of being on a ship without the attendant dis- 
comforts. Here, too, were gorgeous facilities for supply- 
ing food to satisfy the imperial appetite. 

It was the irony of fate that this tyrannical old wo- 
man, the Empress Dowager, died in this very Palace, a 
thing that is not done in high Imperial Chinese circles. 
An Emperor or Empress, running true to form, must 
pass away in the Winter Palace, so the Dowager, having 
"checked out" in the Summer Palace garden was, ac- 
cording to law and tradition, not permitted to officially 
die until after her remains had been robed in garments 
of state, her body propped up in an imposing looking 
chair, and with proper pomp and ceremony was trans- 
ported to the Winter Palace, where all that was mortal 
was deposited in the late Empress Dowager's bedcham- 
ber. How many along that highway suspected that the 
bobbing old head they saw in the chair was that of a 
corpse, tied and thus held in place to more properly 
command their homage? One can picture them now, 
their foreheads in the dust of the road, while the stately 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 133 

bearers carried their lifeless charge, the gaping onlookers 
never suspecting the real character of the procession. 

It is also told of this strong-willed woman that the 
Emperor having died without leaving a son by his lawful 
wife, the woman who afterwards became the Empress 
Dowager, but in the Emperor's lifetime was one of his 
concubines, by skilful intrigue and clever management 
placed her son upon the throne, to which she ascended, 
first as Regent. In due time she placed her son in a mad 
house and assumed the reins of state herself. 

Ruling with a high hand, she spent the nation's money 
with a lavishness that has never been excelled. Large 
sums appropriated for public uses were applied to pro- 
jects for her own luxury, comfort and gratification. For 
instance, millions authorized for equipping China with 
a modern navy were used to build this very Summer 
Palace and its extraordinary grounds, not a penny being 
devoted to the creation of anything remotely suggesting 
the navy unless it is that marble ship! 

Her little grandson, the heir presumptive to the 
throne, is a sickly lad of sixteen years, surrounded by 
tutors, and sorely missing the life a normal boy of those 
years most needs. He abides in a barn of a palace in the 
Forbidden City, lonely and pitiful indeed. It is said he 
is persuaded to look to the U. S. A. to extricate him 
from his difficult situation, one of these fine days. In 
fact all China looks kindly upon America and regards 
us as her best friend. This spirit you can intuitively feel 
as you walk or ride in the streets of Peking. The friendli- 



134 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ness of this race is in centra-distinction to one's exper- 
ience, at times, in contact with natives in some of the 
cities of Japan. 

Tomorrow we are off for the Ming Tombs and the 
Great Wall, so a turn in early is the order of the evening. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 135 



CHAPTER XXXI 

TODAY'S train ride to a small station called Kalgan 
brought us to our stopping place for the night, and 
we alighted at a rather desolate looking road house 
where we were to be quartered. It is getting monotonous 
to touch upon the chilly atmosphere so very frequently 
but facts are facts, and I had to go to bed to get warm 
and keep so. A wind was howling and rain was pelting 
the little panes of glass with a vicious force that was 
most unpleasant. 

A sombre old Chinese and his wife were our hosts, 
and my mind involuntarily reverted to the terrifying 
stories I had read and the thrilling "movies" I had seen, 
depicting the commission of murderous crimes by slim 
fingered orientals in pigtails, who first offered the star 
of the plot be she a heroine or he a hero a poisonous 
cup of tea. I was feeling less like a heroine than ever in 
my life before, and I questioned our good judgment in 
coming so far and to this out of the way place, simply 
to see a collection of mausoleums and an interminable 
old wall! How lonely one can be in a strange land, 
a black night, a cheerless house with strange and 
foreign inmates, a storm raging without and a vivid 
imagination dwelling upon all the unpleasant sub- 
jects that one's brain faithfully stores up for occas- 



fj6 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ions of this kind. I was certain we should never see 
the next sun rise. 

Our supper of tea, rice and boiled meat was served in 
our bedroom and the repast was not half bad as meals 
like these go in fact I have had a lot worse in our gyra- 
tions around the globe, particularly in far away corners. 
I call to mind Burma, where food as we know it was not 
fit to eat, and as we could not live entirely on flying fish 
the kind Kipling describes in his "Road to Mandelay" 
we should have starved had it not been for my cooking 
outfit and box of stores. But let us get back to China. 

Strangely enough, no tragedy befell us as we were up 
and about early, being greeted by a cheery lot of coolies 
whose job it was to be to carry us about in our respec- 
tive chairs for the next six or eight hours. One soon be- 
comes accustomed to the rhythmic swing of these pow- 
erful men, and the initial dread of having them stumble 
or fall to maintain an even stride soon vanishes, and the 
novel means of locomotion becomes a pleasant habit. 

As far as they eye could reach there stretched that 
snakelike structure over the hills, into the valleys, up 
to the mountains and over them, twisting and turning, 
frequently punctured with parapets. Measuring 22 feet 
in its average height and 20 feet in width, this mass of 
rock, builded by man, has been standing since the jrd 
century B. C., and the winds and rain have only suc- 
ceeded in making a solid, indestructible mass of the 
whole. 

A gap in the wall carries this story. When one of the 



NEW YORK TO PEKING ijj 

Emperors, was supervising the building of this particu- 
lar section of the wall, all available subjects irrespective 
of vocation or calling having been pressed into service, 
he observed a workman who was doing a manifestly 
poor job and who was severely taken to task accordingly. 
The offender was a scholar and a person of refinement 
and culture, totally unfitted for this menial labor, hence 
his shortcomings as a builder of masonry persisted and 
finally brought down the Imperial wrath upon him that 
culminated in the sentence condeming him to burial 
alive in the wall referred to. He met his doom in short 
order. His grief-stricken wife, inconsolable, wept copious 
tears at the site of his interment the very spot her 
tears drenching a section of the wall that in all subse- 
quent time could never be permanently restored. Through 
the ages China's best engineers have been unable to 
overcome this traditional weak panel in the Great Wall, 
and there it is today, to substantiate the tale told to me 
and now passed on to you. 

In this day and generation it is difficult to understand 
how the Great Wall offered an effective barrier and 
protection against the invasion of war bent hordes, 
since the recent big war has familiarized us with guns 
having a range of miles, where once the distance covered 
by destructive missiles was measured in feet; when air 
craft has made it possible to perch so high in the heavens 
for the deliberate dropping of bombs capable of destroy- 
ing a large community, without risk to the Zeppelins or 
airplanes; when science and the skill of man have de- 



138 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

vised other fiendish agencies to cause havoc beyond 
measure and description. But for all that, the Great 
Wall still stands in this year A.D. 1920. What has our 
more modern civilization to point to in the form of a 
great structure that will be defying the ages 23 centuries 
from now? 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 



CHAPTER XXXII 

OUR homeward journey included the Ming Tombs. 
The dynasty of the Ming emperors dates back 
over three centuries, and these mausoleums with the 
marvelous yellow tiles, their glaze still perfect, are like- 
wise mute evidences of the permanency of the building 
art as it existed in those bygone days. But an era of 
decay is, I fear, now setting in, for a crumbling of the 
edifices has been noted more and more in recent years 
and as a matter of fact, one assumes considerable risk 
of bodily injury when walking under the arched gate- 
ways the slightest jar sometimes bringing down chunks 
of tile or stone. Should you be so unfortunate as to have 
a real specimen hit you, well you can either begin to 
plan your own tomb without much delay, or your be- 
reaved relatives will do it for you. 

I just escaped a fine piece of ceramic, my alert China 
boy succeeding in pulling me out of harm's way, thus 
doubtless saving me from a painful injury and what was 
better, causing said tile to imbed itself in the soft mud, 
whence we extracted it and later mounted it as a suitable 
desk paper weight. It is now reposing on my writing 
table, my proud possession, moreover a reminder of 
what might have been had I acted as the human land- 
ing place in its restless flight from its centuries old abid- 



140 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

ing place. But there it is, my precious Ming paper 
weight, reflecting the sunlight from my open window, 
blinking lazily and no doubt dreaming of the long past 
days of splendor, comparing my simple surroundings to 
those of the Ming dynasty, with their ostentation and 
intrigue. 

Of course everyone has heard of the approach to the 
Tombs, consisting of gigantic stone figures of famous 
warriors, and also of various animals, camels, elephants, 
dogs, griffons, etc., comprising the impressive guard for 
the massive and majestic entrance. 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 141 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

OUR arrival at the Nanking station in Shanghai was 
seemingly dreadfully late, only a few sleepy por- 
ters, rickshaw boys and cabbies being in evidence, all 
bundled up to their eyes, looking very much like mum- 
mies and certainly acting like them. Obviously their 
little brains were frozen and I am not so sure that the 
midnight chilliness was the sole cause. A Thos. Cook & 
Son man met us, a native labeled an interpreter of 
English, the extent of his vocabulary being to utter 
"yes" to any question or other remark that might be 
addressed to him. We had arranged with Cook & Son 
to book us at any available first class hotel, had paid a 
liberal deposit in advance and we started for Shanghai 
with the comfortable assurance (as expressed in a 
telegram from Cook & Son) that suitable quarters 
awaited us. So we asked the "Interpreter" specially sent 
to meet and greet us: "Have you engaged rooms for us 
at the Astor House Hotel?" "Yes, Missie." R. mean- 
while asked: "Have you engaged for us at the Palace 
Hotel?" "Yes, master." And thus we were enlightened. 
That was a bitterly cold ride to the Astor House 
Hotel, a heavy, penetrating wind blowing through us, so 
that we felt like human porous plasters, innumerable 
little drafts eating into our very marrow bones. There 



142 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

we sat in a small open, victoria-like hack, drawn by a 
thin but hardy pony, huddled on the scant seat with our 
bags about us like a first-line trench, and there we 
crouched as the long dash was made for our destination 
that is, as much of a dash as one can ever make in 
the East. 

So after much beating of air and jerking of reins, 
accompanied by intimidating screaming of our driver at 
the tired pony and howling at belated pedestrians that 
crossed our path, we landed in safety at the door of the 
Astor House Hotel, the gaily lighted, spacious office 
presenting a picture of welcoming shelter from the icy 
blasts of the north. But here the supply of hospitality ran 
out, for the bland night clerk regretted to report that, 
owing to unforeseen circumstances, the rooms engaged 
for our party could not be occupied, but we would be 
taken care of in some fashion. Some fellow victims that 
registered just ahead of us were assigned to the ball- 
room, and as all the screens of the hotel were required 
for this batch of guests, our chances for the night looked 
dubious. It seems that the huge liner "Empress of 
Russia" was to have sailed the morning of this day, 
taking several hundred people who were occupying the 
choice apartments of the hotel, but the unprecedented 
high wind and exceptionally strong running tide made 
it impossible to get alongside the big ship at her moor- 
ings in the channel of the Yangste River, and after 
hours of fruitless attempt to transfer these passengers 
from tender to the "Empress," the undertaking had to 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 143 

be abandoned, and the several hundred people, numb 
with cold, half sick with nausea from the tossing tender, 
re-registered at their hotels and again took up the 
quarters previously occupied, many of which had been 
promised to travelers like ourselves, who were now 
literally constrained to cool our heels. 

After some unsatisfactory exchange of words with 
said bland night clerk, we were walked up five flights of 
rear stairway the lift being out of order and shown 
into a room in the attic, containing two small windows 
but only half of the required window-panes. The bed 
showed signs of recent use; wearing apparel was strewn 
on the floor; a pair of boots stood on the mantel; dirt 
was everywhere and a gale of wind enlivened the whole 
dreary scene. We decided unanimously and without 
delay to refuse such hospitality, and betook ourselves 
down the five flights, resolved to avail ourselves of a big 
lobby chair with one or two of our steamer rugs to cover 
us, if something that resembled a room did not offer. 
Presently, however, we were again ushered into another 
cubby-hole, a sort of second cousin to the one we had 
spurned. It was clean, however, but oh, so cold! So the 
sleepy boy was ordered to put a fire in the tiny grate, 
sad and dilapidated though it appeared, only to soon 
realize that whatever heat was produced fiercely blew 
up the chimney to join the howling gale without. Still 
wrapped in our fur coats and removing only hats and 
gloves, we sank into the bed, only to have it collapse to 
the floor with a clatter and a bang causing the iron grate 



144 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

to fall out, spilling the precious hot coals over the 
hearth rug, giving us much excitement until we had 
corraled them. Never shall we know what made that bed 
collapse. Was it the extra coats and gloves, or the shock 
of actually having a fire in the grate that looked like 
last year's bird nest? Anyway, we laughed and laughed, 
sprawling on the floor with head board and foot board 
hopelessly parted, the scene looking for all the world 
like a train wreck most certainly we felt like one. 

The following morning R. and I were haunting the 
outside of the breakfast room, waiting for the doors to 
open. We had had little or no sleep, and even the bare 
corridors were more inviting than our dilapidated, 
tumble-down lumber room, hence we were the first to 
enter the dining-room. 

But all is well that ends that way for, after the third 
day's attempt, the "Empress" succeeded in getting 
away, taking her hundreds of passengers and leaving 
many rooms available for those standing in line to 
occupy them. The storm, the cause of our misery of 
these past few days, is the third severe one within the 
hundred year memory of Shanghai, and if the local 
newspapers are to be believed, it was by no means con- 
fined in its devastating effects upon the local, very 
important river, the Yangste, but swept the sea coast in 
all directions, and with terrible havoc in its train. 

Meanwhile the ardor of the Biffys to encircle the globe 
on their homeward way has not been dampened; in fact 
they accomplished what all tourist agencies declared 



NEW YORK TO PEKING 145 

impossible, and booked, with true American energy of 
purpose, on a fine ship, the very best quarters, and soon 
they will be sailing towards the equator on their way to 
Ceylon and India. We have equipped them with a list 
of "don'ts," as long as your arm, to observe while living 
in fascinating India, adding our blessings and best 
wishes for a happy time there. It is indeed with sad 
hearts that we part after these wonderful weeks of de- 
lightful companionship, in which our already close 
friendship has been welded into an even stronger struc- 
ture, if that were possible. We know the priceless worth 
of these two charming, delightful pals, and only the 
promise of another trip in the not distant future recon- 
ciles us in part to separate company here. Already we 
have planned wanderings to other regions that hold our 
curiosity, and must be seen to gratify our taste for see- 
ing new sights, studying interesting people and observ- 
ing out-of-the-ordinary customs. 

Meanwhile we turn our faces to the United States to 
make certain that the home fires are still burning. We 
have ties and responsibilities that call for a guiding hand 
during these troublesome, chaotic times. Surely the 
world is anything but at peace. Whither has that little 
white dove flown, and will it ever want to come back to 
this sorry and sorrowful world? Alas, it is fast accumu- 
lating so much hatred toward its fellow man, that I 
sometimes wonder if we have strayed so far off the Path 
that a lesson is being sent us in its present form, just to 
turn us of our own free will back to the road of justice 



146 NEW YORK TO PEKING 

and righteousness. It is a heroic remedy indeed, and 
only one that a God could apply, knowing that it will 
not kill, but certainly cure. 

Once more I see my bit of yellow Ming tile reflecting 
a blink on its gorgeously glazed yellow surface, this time 
a disgusted one, as my Aberdeen terrier Jock frisks into 
my writing room, and demands attention by putting his 
soft, big, flat paws on my papers and disarranging them 
hopelessly in his frantic desire to tell me to come out in 
the lovely Virginia mountain sunshine for a long rambl- 
ing walk, and to leave the scribbling of my Oriental 
observations to some other time. A few hours more or 
less in telling about the ancient Far East cannot possibly 
make any difference, while we two friends explore the 
woods and hedges of Albemarle for rabbits, forgetting 
all but the present and the joys of being alive. 

For you must know we are back in our home again, 
and the journey from New York to Peking is but a 
memory, spent with the Biffys, charming, ideal travel- 
ing companions. The many little inconveniences, a few 
real hardships, experienced in the course of our wander- 
ings, only served to make us realize their worth the 
more. Their tried and true friendship, their ever cheery 
philosophy, their delightful companionship, go far in 
making this world of ours a paradise worth living in. 
And as an old Italian proverb says :"Good company in a 
journey makes the way to seem the shorter." 

THE END 



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